Back in my Oddbins days, the wines of Bodegas Chivite sat on my shelves and I didn't pay them much attention. They were cheap, sold moderately well and I really can't recall ever trying them.
However last week, I finally got round to trying them again, and found, to my surprise, that I'd been missing out on a few wines for the best part of a decade.
The company was founded in Navarra in 1647, and has expanded to include wines from Rueda and Ribera del Duero, but it is still one of the most respected and important Navarran producers.
I started with their 2009 Gran Fuedo Blanco, an unoaked Chardonnay, and despite it being a bit too cold, it had a lovely, light, simple aroma with lots of apples, citrus - both grapefruit and lemon - and just a hint of graphite. The palate was clean, a lovely texture, just a hint of yeasty flavours, and with more apple and citrus. With a retail price of £8.99, this is a super wee wine. 8/10
Moving onto their famous 2009 Gran Fuedo Rosado, I found that this pink Garnacha was a pleasent wine, but was confused by its 91 points awarded by the Penin Guide. Sure, it was light, with a hint of peach and strawberry leaves on the nose, but the palate was quite fruitless and although clean, it was a bit boring. Not bad, just boring, and that is a bigger crime in my book. 5/10
The reds picked things up, and the 2005 Cran Fuedo Crianza (Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon) showed lots of red berries, crunchy red apple skin and a lot of spice and creamy elements on the nose. The palate was spicy, leather hints and cherry stone galore, all coated in a dusting of cocoa. At £7.99 it is a good wee wine. 7.5/10
Finally, the 2004 Gran Fuedo Reserva, a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, was tasty. Big rounded nose, with lots of menthol and mint. A lovely structure with cherry jam, black peppercorns and green peppers. It is a very punter friendly wine, but still, at £10.99, it delivers the goods. 8/10
These wines are decent bottles for the price, and it is a shame that I found the rosado to be dull, but maybe it was just that I tried it on a freezing November day! There is one wine from their range that I am eager to try again, the Coleccion 125 Blanco, a stunning Chardonnay that, quite rightly, wins loads of awards. I suggest you try and get your hands on, what I think, is one of the greatest white wines from Spain.