Itxas Harri Beltza 2021, Navarra, Spain

Itxas Harri, located in the village of Monteagudo in the northern Basque region of Navarra, is a project from Ignacio Ameztoi and his long-time friend and winemaking partner, Inaki Guelbenzu. Wines from Itxas Harri defy standard logic, as the Spanish Basque Navarra region lies inland, yet the wines have restraint and freshness with lower alcohol levels (12.5%) which we associate with the coastal areas. This flavor profile is the result of the vineyard planted to the native garnacha and tempranillo grapes on well-drained, gravelly limestone soils in an ancient seabed at 385m in the Monteagudo village. Garnacha and tempranillo grapes for Beltza are 90% destemmed and given a brief pre-fermentation cold soak. The wine is then fermented with native yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, with maceration throughout. It then ages in stainless steel until bottling the following spring.