The Chivite family can boast of having one the most ancient wine traditions in Spain: a mortgage document dated from 1647 records the existence of a winery and vineyards. As the leading brand in Navarra, Chivite set the trend for the region's rosé (Gran Feudo), established top quality standards for international grapes and vinified the Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains in the style of a great sweet wine.
In 2017, the company was bought by Catalan group Perelada, but Julián Chivite, the eldest brother, is still at the helm. Under his management, the portfolio was completely restructured. Bodegas Gran Feudo is now a separate winery focused on commercial, large production wines such as the flagship rosé or the red Viñas Viejas (Old Vines), as well as the Baluarte range from Rueda and Ribera del Duero.
J. Chivite Family Estates controls 160 hectares under vine destined to the group’s premium wines. It includes three different ranges: Colección 125, Finca Villatuerta and Las Fincas.
Colección 125 was released in 1985 to mark the first export operation carried out in 1860. It includes classical labels like the long-established Chardonnay Fermentado en Barrica (€51), the red Reserva (€20) and the sweet Vendimia Tardía (€30). A barrel-fermented Rosado (€20) was later added to the portfolio.
The Finca de Villatuerta range includes a barrel-fermented Chardonnay (€13), a Syrah (€15) and Selección de la Finca de Villatuerta (€12), which blends Tempranillo and Merlot. This wine will soon be replaced by two single-varietal reds made with Tempranillo and Garnacha.
In partnership with San Sebastian’s chef Juan Mari Arzak (3 Michelin stars), Chivite has released the wine range Las Fincas that includes a fine rosé (€9.5 in Spain) and the white 2 Garnachas (€13) which blends equal amounts of white and red Garnacha.
The lion's share of the grapes destined to premium wines comes from Finca Legardeta, a 246-hectare property with 104 hectares under vine located some 40 kilometres from Pamplona. It lies next door to Señorío de Arínzano, the estate that the family sold in 2015. Given its location in one of the coolest and northernmost areas of Navarra, Chivite is focused on producing fresh, elegant wines with the ability to age. Whereas the convergence of Atlantic and continental climates favours slow ripening, the relatively high rainfall (around 600 mm per year) has allowed high-density plantings of up to 6,000 vines per hectare.
The vineyards lie at an elevation of 428 to 580 metres. Slopes with gradients ranging from 16% to 20% benefit from a variety of exposures. Clay-limestone soils resemble those found on the left bank of the Ebro river in areas like Rioja Alta and Alavesa. Perhaps the most striking thing is that temperatures within the estate can vary up to 6º C on the same day. An additional 50 hectares are expected to be planted in the next few years. The medium-term goal at Finca Legardeta is to achieve the single-vineyard status of Vino de Pago.
Since 2010, the winery has fermented most of their plots separately. This has led to the release of a La Zorrera (€35, just over 5,000 bottles), a Garnacha combining structure with unusual acidity sourced from a 6.5Ha vineyard of the same name. This wine is sold under the VT 3 Riberas designation as is Las Fincas range. The rest of the wines come under the umbrella of DO Navarra.