Equipo Navazos | Spanish Wine Lover

Passion for Spanish wine


Equipo Navazos is the innovative project launched jointly by Eduardo Ojeda and Jesús Barquín in 2005 to bring to light great traditional Andalusian wines that have been guarded and forgotten for years in many wineries in the area.

Neither of the two founders works full-time for Equipo Navazos; instead, both have other day jobs: Ojeda is technical director of Grupo Estévez, with brands such as La Guita, Valdespino and Real Tesoro, and Barquín is a trained lawyer and professor of criminology at the University of Granada.

They met at Spanish wine fair Fenavin a couple of years before launching Equipo Navazos. "Jesus went to a tasting that I conducted there and began to ask me about things that are often talked about now but not so in those years. We continued talking after the tasting and he told me that he was preparing an article with Álvaro Girón about amontillados", relates Ojeda. "Jesus knows more about foreign wines than anyone else. It was his idea to equate sherry wines with other great wines of the world."

Barquín's knowledge was not only limited to foreign wines, but, together with Girón, they studied traditional Andalusian wines and during their holidays —always in the Sherry Triangle— they seized every opportunity to visit all the wineries in the area. It was during a visit to Sánchez Ayala, at a time when this Sanlúcar bodega was a supplier of La Guita, that the idea arose to buy one of the 65 amontillado casks that had been untouched for years. Ojeda describes the conversation between Barquín and the cellarmaster:
B: Would you sell us a cask of this amontillado?
C: Sure, I'll give it to you!
B: No, how much is it?
C: It costs five
B: OK, we'll give you 10. And how much would you charge me for bottling it?
C: Two
B: OK, we'll give you four.

With no commercial purposes, the initial idea was to share that cask among a group of 30-40 friends, mostly wine professionals or connoisseurs based in Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. They decided to call it La Bota de Amontillado, in honour of Edgar Allan Poe's short story and that cask was followed by others, selected for their special finesse and character, until the popularity of the initiative led them to establish a company, register the name Equipo Navazos and sell their wines to the public at prices that at that time were much higher than the average for generoso wines.

"It's an escape route. We've done as we please, but always under the strictest legality and with the seal of the Regulatory Body, but without being dependent on a brand," says Ojeda. "This is not a business in which we are forced to sell or do what the client wants; it has rather been a kind of rebellion within the establishment.”

Thanks to their in-depth knowledge of Sherry and other traditional wines of Andalusia, Barquín, who has just published a book in Spanish alongside Peter Liem about the wines of Andalucía, and Ojeda were the first to innovate in the region in the 21st century, recovering old styles such as non-fortified whites (Navazos Niepoort since 2008 and La Bota de Florpower MMX), bringing to light forgotten wines such as their first La Bota De Amontillado or challenging conventions and releasing wines with shorter ageing at times when the buzzword was long ageing.

“In the early days, Equipo Navazos wanted to release exceptional wines, forgotten treasures hidden aways in the bodegas but that has changed. We now want to release extraordinary wines but not necessarily old. We follow our own intuition and always look to set trends”, says Ojeda, who summarizes the philosophy of Equipo Navazos: “No competition with the bodegas and that the person who sells us the wine is happy”.

Equipo Navazos also pioneered collaborations with wineries outside the Sherry Triangle, such as the aforementioned Portuguese house Niepoort, Colet (since 2006, sparkling wines with the presence of southern wines in the dosage) or Pérez Barquero from Montilla (in their La Bota De series), although it is not something they actively seek preferring instead to focus on wines with a story to tell. "There have been some difficult times because the doubt was there," adds Ojeda. "I have staked my name, but as in life itself, you cannot remain on the sidelines. You must take risks and try not to fail.”

Always in limited editions of a few thousand bottles at best, with minimal filtration and with the date of the saca on the label, the number of bottles of La Bota De is approaching almost a hundred and includes wines from bodegas such as Fernando de Castilla, Pérez Barquero and of course, Valdespino and La Guita. They bottle all styles of wine from the area as well as brandy and spirits such as gin, whisky or rum. Many Botas De are re-editions or new sacas such as the Fino de Macharnudo Alto or the Manzanilla Navazos, in its ninth edition, or the white wine Florpower, an unfortified white wine aged under a veil of flor, in its fifth year.

In addition to wineries, Equipo Navazos also has a joint initiative with Spanish distributor Coalla, with whom they make Ovni, a range of two dry unfortified white wines -one with Pedro Ximénez and the other with Palomino Fino- meant for casual and immediate consumption. In the UK, the alliance is with Paul Shinnie from Rhône to Rioja, for whom they make Manzanilla I Think, with the intention of bringing this style of wine to a wider audience. In the United States they work with Frenchman Nicolas Palazzi, with whom they bottle the prized Navazos Palazzi series of spirits.

Worth mentioning is the Equipo Navazos website, featuring all the wines that have been produced so far. The site, written in Spanish and English, includes detailed information on the origin of the wines, the date of saca or withdrawal from the cask, the alcohol content, the number of bottles produced and the characteristics of the wine.


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