Brothers Xabier, Iñaki and Mikel Sanz started this project with a 2007 Graciano but they almost immediately partnered with their friend Rafael Regadera who showed them the great potential of recovering old Garnacha vineyards in the vicinity of Fitero in southern Navarra. The landscape in this area — encompassing the first foothills of the Sistema Ibérico mountain range— differs widely from the distinctive Ebro Valley flatlands, thus the wines show more freshness than expected in this subarea of DO Navarra known as Ribera Baja.
Viña Zorzal currently owns and grows 40 hectares, 25 of which are traditional Garnacha bush vines; the remaining land is planted with Graciano and Tempranillo, some Garnacha Blanca and Chardonnay. Wines are made at the family winery in Corella which has been renamed Viña Zorzal. Garnacha-expert and winemaker Jorge Navascués from the neighboring region of Aragón consults for them.
The colourful labels display the image of a thrust, the bird (zorzal in Spanish) the winery was named after. The wine range offers outstanding value. It starts with two entry-level young Garnachas. The rosé (around 12,000 bottles, €6.5 in Spain) and red (60,000 bottles, €6.5) are followed by Viña Zorzal Graciano (35,000 bottles, around €7.5 in Spain) which is aged for five months in oak barrels and is probably the smartest buy at this winery. Single-varietal Chardonnay and Tempranillo are also produced within the same price tag.
For a little bit more, the range of single-vineyard Garnacha is highly rewarding. It’s worth comparing Corral de los Altos (5,900 bottles, around €12 in Spain), a fragrant, vibrant red coming from two stony plots located on a plateau exposed to the Cierzo, a northwest wind characteristic in the area, with the more mineral Malayeto (11,000 bottles, €12) which comes from a 2.3Ha plot planted at 520 metres of altitude on clay-sandy soils with stones on the surface. The top brand, Señora de las Alturas (3,000 bottles, €18), is a blend of the oldest Garnacha vines and 20% Graciano.
The last addition to the range is the premium Graciano Cuatro del Cuatro (€15, 2,900 bottles), named after the birth date of their father Antonio Sanz who established the winery and championed this variety in his vineyards in Corella (southern Navarra). The best grapes and barrels are selected to produce a refined, less herbaceous version of this grape variety.
The Sanz brothers and their partner have also started producing reds in Rioja under El Inquilino brand (“inquilino” means tenant and the label displays a wooden bird house). They have released a younger red with just five months in barrels and a Crianza. Grapes are sourced from vineyards located between de viallages of Labastida and San Vicente de la Sonsierra.
Total production is 180,000 bottles, 80% of which are sold abroad.