In a nutshell: A very fine and elegant, almost Chablis-esque, Chardonnay from Navarra in north-eastern Spain.
The lowdown: The Chivite family are one of the oldest winemaking families in Spain and their Legardata estate just south west of Pamplona is surrounded by countryside has a unique microclimate enabling then to produce some of the finest Chardonnays on the Iberian Peninsula. The vines are grown on cooler north facing vineyards allowing a longer ripening time resulting in elegance and freshness. Hand harvested and then fermented in a mix of stainless steel to preserve freshness and oak barrels to enhance complexity. The 6 months spent on its lees bring weight, richness and a lovely textural quality.
Intense and fragrant aromas of acacia flower, citrus and passion fruit with notes of almond and pastry lead onto a medium-bodied palate with finesse, great freshness and deep, slightly rich, finish.
When to drink: Try with sushi, shellfish, salmon or cream sauce based dishes with chicken, pasta, or vegetables.
The Chivite family have a long pedigree in the northern Spanish province of Navarre. They've been making wine there since the 17th century and over the years they've firmly established themselves as the leading wine producer in this part of Spain. While parts of the business are involved in large scale commerical wines those under the Chivite label are their premium brands and in particular their Finca Legardeta which is located about 25 miles southwest of Pamplona. Here, at an average elevation of 450m, the poor soils and continental climate make it ideal for quality wine production.
Julian Chivite López is the current generation of the family to be at the helm and under his guidance their reputation seems quietly assured.