Chivite is the oldest winemaking dynasty in the northern Spanish region of Navarra. The family motto on each bottle proudly declares ‘from father to son since 1647’. Today the business is run by Fernando Chivite who is also the chief winemaker. One of the Chivites’ main priorities in this generation has been vineyard expansion to exercise tighter control over the quality of their raw materials and to reduce dependency on outside growers.
With that in mind, they have sought premium, cooler sites to the north of the region, In 1988, the company acquired the 150-hectare Arínzano farm in the foothills of the Pyrenees where grapes for the premium range Colección 125 are grown. These are now some of Navarra’s very finest wines with a complexity and elegance that defy a reputation for rusticity the region has suffered for a number of years. The more accesible Gran Feudo wines, also blended by Fernando Chivite, are consistently smooth, fruity and reliable: the garnacha-based rosado in particular, is wildly successful, both domestically and in the export market. Though Navarra has traditionally favoured the garnacha grape, tempranillo, prominent in neighbouring Rioja, is steadily gaining ground at Chivite as well as with other producers in the area. Cabernet sauvinon and merlot are also present in the red blends.
Outside Navarra, Chivite have interests in Rioja, where they produce Viña Salceda, in Ribera del Duero, home of the Baluarte range and in neighbouring Rueda, spiritual home of the verdejo grape, which is very much part of the Spanish white wine renaissance started by albariño.