Established in 2010 by several partners including well-known sportspeople from Navarra, many of whom are still involved in the project, Aroa has gained renewed impetus since Vintae became a majority shareholder in 2013. The operation allowed the Riojan group, which had been making wine in the area since 2004, to strengthen its position in Navarra and add the 30 hectares of vineyards managed by Aroa to the 20 they already owned in the region.
Built in a modern architectural style and with its own restaurant, the winery sits on a hilltop with fantastic views of the Urbasa and Andía mountains. It is located in Tierra Estella, a sub-area of DO Navarra crossed by the Camino de Santiago, on the northern limit for vine growing. Clay-limestone soils are dominant here.
Since their arrival, Vintae focused on Garnacha and natural, sulphite-free wines -the red Le Naturel (around 100,000 bottles, under €9 in Spain) is their biggest selling, benchmark wine of this range. After a short maceration, the wine is fermented without pumping-over and spends some time in stainless steel tanks. The natural wine range also includes the white Le Naturel Garnacha Blanca (€9.5) and a fun Pét-Nat (€18), also made from Garnacha Blanca, which is usually released without disgorging and is sold without the seal of the DO.
The Garnacha line has expanded with the sweet late harvest Berandu (the name means late in Basque). Grapes are usually picked at the beginning of December, often with some botrytis; residual sugar is under 100 g/l; and particularly with the super premium red Lakar. Grapes are sourced from a vineyard believed to have been planted in 1920. This is a high density plantation with trees dotted among the vines. Lakar is the only wine that is fermented in concrete and the highest priced (€45). It is also an excellent example of the type of centenary vineyards that the winery has been after in recent times.
Also from Garnacha are the young Aroa Laia (Garnacha Blanca, €10), the rosé Aroa Larrosa (red Garnacha, €8.5 in Spain and the only one that does not carry the organic seal as it relies partly on grapes bought from suppliers) and the red Aroa Mutiko (€8, about 5,000 bottles), which is made from the youngest vines and is aged for about 10 months in barrels.
Aroa Jauna is made from Aroa's original vineyards; it is a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with some Garnacha. Finally, Aroa Gorena (18 €) is a blend of Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 18 months in oak barrels and sold as a Reserva.
Aroa peoduces around 280,000 bottles per year. The wines are available at at Vintae’s online store. The group also includes wineries in Rioja (Hacienda López de Haro and Viñedos El Pacto), Toro (Matsu), Ribera del Duero (Bardos), as well as projects in Aragón and Catalonia -where they source grapes for a range of Garnacha-based reds-, and northern Spain -Galicia and the Basque Country- to produce the Atlantis range of white wines.