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Deep garnet in color, with glints of ruby and subtle, complex earth tones that are reminiscent of classified Bordeaux, the 2000 Guelbenzu Azul fashions Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Tempranillo into an artful blend that is nothing short of masterful. The sensual scent of Cabernet dominates the nose, revealing well-endowed fruit, redolent with blackberry, plum, current, cinnamon, coffee and other pungent aromas that beguile the senses. In addition, a set of very well delineated flavors conjures ripe fruit and a myriad of complex flavors from the depths of the Guelbenzu. Black cherry, mint and spicy oak round out the lovely finish of this noble Navarra, before revealing a boatload of tannin. Although beautiful now, this wine should continue to improve in bottle for at least several more years. Serve the 2000 Guelbenzu Azul a little above cellar temperature (about 65°F), and allow it to breathe for at least thirty minutes before serving.
Grilled lamb or beef, pungent meat and vegetable stews, and just about any highly charged meat or vegetable dish should pair well with the 2000 Guelbenzu. Spanish fare and southern Italian cooking provide some of our favorite backdrops to this wine. Roast lamb in a black olive paste, Eggplant Parmigiana, and Sausage and Peppers are several tried and true accompaniments to the Guelbenzu. And if you are looking to elevate some lowly, but tasty, dish such as Black Beans and Rice or Meatloaf, Guelbunzu will add the crowning touch. Enjoy!
The Guelbenzu family of Cascante has enjoyed great acclaim for their innovative, award winning wines for centuries. As far back as 1851and the First Universal Exposition in London (the forerunner of the World's Fair), Don Miquel Guelbenzu was wowing audiences with his remarkably rich, atypical Navarra wines. A graduate of the Sorbonne with a degree in Chemistry, Don Miquel went on to great critical and commercial success in Navarra; his wines won gold medals in all of Europe's most illustrious competitions, including the prestigious Exposition Universelle Bordeaux in 1882. It is in the spirit and tradition of Don Miquel that his eight great-grandchildren pooled their resources in 1980 and resurrected his great estate, thereby restoring the legacy and the good name of their famous forefather. As with so many Spanish wine estates in the 20th century, especially those outside of the favored regions of Rioja and Jerez, vine diseases, politics, hardship and neglect had taken their toll on Guelbenzu. In order to reverse the family's wine fortune, the eight Guelbenzu siblings planted 98 acres of choice vineyard plots encircling Cascante to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo. All of the estate's vineyards are dry farmed. These plots sit at the foot of towering, snow capped Mt. Moncayo, which provides enough run off to moisten the vineyards through Navarra's hot, drought-plagued summers. To assure quality and avoid the use of young or immature vines, the family waited until 1989 before bottling their first vintage and relaunching their family vineyard estate. Present production at Guelbenzu averages 250,000 bottles per year. Don Miquel would be proud.
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