I had a superb meal at the legendary Arzak restaurant in San Sebastien a couple of years ago, where the Arzak family has retained three Michelin stars ever since 1989. Owner and head chef, Juan Mari Arzak, has also put his name to two fascinating wines released by the Chivite company, arguably the best known producer in the Navarra region, and certainly one of the oldest, having been founded in 1647.
Julián Chivite explains that it was during an annual tasting between him and Juan Mari Arzak several years ago that the idea for a joint project to produce a dry, gastronomic rosé came about. That wine, first released with the 2014 vintage, was unsual: in style it nods fairly obviously towards pale and cool Provence, but the 100% Garnacha wine is fermented and aged for 10 months in French oak barriques.
This year, a second wine under the Chivite and Arzak joint project has been launched, this time a white wine made from ‘2 Garnachas’, specifically Grenache and Grenache Blanc. It sees partial French oak barrel fermentation and ageing, and like the rosé, has been designed as a gastronomic wine, perhaps particularly suited to fine Basque cuisine. Julián Chivite recently sent me the latest 2018 vintage releases to taste the wines for myself.