Vina Magana

Country of Origin: Spain
Location: Navarra
People: Juan Magaña, Owner | Juan & son Diego Magaña, Winemakers


Vina Magana 2012 'Dignus' Navarra DO Login IWC 90 WA 91 In Stock

Sometimes you just have to break the rules. Take Juan Magaña, for example. 30 years ago, he had a vision. After researching the best wines in the world, he decided that he wanted to grow Bordeaux in the Navarra region of Spain. He found a nursery that sold to St. Emilion and Pomerol, and most notably the auspicious Chateau Petrus. The nursery owner even hailed originally from Spain, and knew what climate and soil there would grow his vines best. So what was the problem? The Spanish government did not permit the planting of Bordeaux grapes in Navarra! The D.O. (Instituto Nacional de Denominaciones de Origen) mandated what it deemed the best grapes for each area, and vineyards were forced to comply. Magaña's most significant find, Petrus clone #181 class A Merlot, was not included in the government's choices. So he had to sneak the vines in. He smuggled them over the Pyrenees Mountains, managed to get them into Navarra without incident, and named the first plot after the nursery owner in France. Thus was created the first vineyard of Merlot in España. It took him seven years to plant the vines while enjoying the romantic experience of his dream coming to life. He also found, after 7 long years, that he was broke!

To make money while he was waiting to make his own wines, he sold clone #181 elsewhere, but he didn't just sell Merlot; anyone important in Spain bought their Cabernet, Malbec, and Sauvignon Blanc (as well as Syrah and Cabernet Franc) from Magaña's vineyards. Even today, any Merlot seen in the country is likely to have come from this original source, planted in 1975. It was not an easy journey. Juan would travel to France, buy the vines in Bordeaux, and then bring them across the Mountains. Then he would graft and grow the vines, make cuttings, and sell them to other wineries. Every time the D.O. made a visit to check on wineries, Magaña would claim all of their vines as Tempranillo to avoid questioning and stay within the law. So how did Merlot eventually become legal within the area? Years later, the D.O. came to Magaña to ask his advice! They explained that his "Tempranillo" was clearly superior to any other in the region, and, as they were looking to admit new clones, wanted him to let them in on his secret. He did. . . and the rest is history!

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  • Vina Magana 2012 'Dignus' Navarra DO
    International Wine Cellar
    Rating: 90 (10/1/2014)

    Brilliant ruby. Expressive aromas of red berries, rose pastille and white pepper, with a hint of cured tobacco emerging with aeration. Plush and fruit-driven on the palate, offering gently sweet black raspberry and cherry flavors and a touch of mocha. Velvety tannins shape the clinging finish, which features lingering floral and red berry qualities.
  • Vina Magana 2012 'Dignus' Navarra DO
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (11/1/2014)

    The 2012 Dignus is a blend of 50% Tempranillo , 25% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines planted in 1970 that was aged 12 months in 3-year-old French oak. It exhibits lovely blackcurrant and black cherry fruit intermixed with licorice, Provençal herbs, loamy soil and hints of spice box and background oak. Medium to full-bodied with fresh acids, it is a zesty, opulent, delicious, complex red wine to consume over the next 3-4 years.
  • Vina Magana 1997 Reserva, Navarra DO
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (6/1/2014)

    The 1997 Reserva is a blend of 50% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon with Tempranillo and Syrah, which feels fully mature and developed, with complex aromas of cooked meat, paprika, leather and blackberries. This resembles a Mediterranean Bordeaux, with a fine texture, enough underlying acidity and full-resolved tannins. Enjoy with roasted lamb. Drink now.