Bodegas Navajas (pronounced "Na va cas") is a family run winery based in Navarette, Rioja. It was founded in 1918 as Bodegas Arjona. In 1978 the Navajas family joined the running of the winery. By 1983 Navajas became sole stock holders and the company changed its name to Bodegas Navajas. S.L.
Antonio Navajas senior, who still potters around the winery, built the original Navajas bodega in 1983. A new state of the art winery was built a few years ago by Antonio junior. Here he steel ferments his wines prior to oak ageing in high toast American oak barrels supplied by Murua, the famous Riojan cooperage in Logroño. The winery vinifies about a million kilos of grapes sourced from 350 growers in and around Navarette. This region is renowned for for its old vines and high quality of fruit.
Antonio is a solid, squat, powerfully built man who doesn't say that much unless he has to, but can flash you a wide grin when he wants to. I was last at his bodega in 2003 and he was excited: his first Gran Reserva was nearly ready for release. Antonio's reputation had been built on his Tinto, Crianza and Reserva wines, all of which share his trademark of ultra fresh strawberry fruit and clean American oak. In many ways these are traditional wines though somehow Antonio manages to get so much clean fruit into the act that the wines seem slightly reminiscent of the modern style of Rioja. It is this quality which makes his wines so incredibly popular.
Antonio's first release of his limited production Gran Reserva was the excellent 1994 vintage, now superseded by the 1995, also highly rated as a vintage. This wine has been in cask for 4 years and in bottle for 5 years, thus far exceeding the required minimum legal limits for maturation in Rioja. It is a more traditional wine than the rest of his range with delicious savoury and spicy mature fruit.
Antonio's Tinto (or "sin crianza") has in fact about 3 months oak aging to give just a light touch of vanilla. It's a lovely fresh style of Rioja and one of our top selling wines at The Oxford Wine Company for good reason. His Crianza spends 15 months in oak followed by 3 months in bottle, giving it a rich deep feel and the Reserva spends 24 months in oak and 12 in bottle before release making it a lovely mature wine. All Antonio's wines are made up of 80 to 85% Tempranillo, with the rest being made up of Garnacha and Mazuelo.