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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin

Seoro de Sarra, one of Navarra's most historic estates, has announced that it is to invest e4 million to overcome the problems that have dogged the winery in recent years. The 120 hectare (ha) estate in Puente la Reina is to destroy 8,300 of its 11,200 barrels, following ongoing complaints about mustiness in its wines. And, after a series of tastings conducted by the University of Tarragona, it has made a severe selection of its existing bulk and barrel-aged wines, most of which will not be released for sale. The changes are part of the reforms introduced by the new management team, led by Fernando Tabar, previously managing director of Bodegas y Bebidas, and winemaker Jess Lazan. The investment has been made available by Sarra's owners, the regional Caja de Ahorros de Navarra bank, which is said to be keen to restore the estate to its former glory. The wines were still selling well in Spain,' UK representative John Comyn told Harpers, but Sarra needs to modernise. Expert tasters always thought they could detect a certain mouldiness in the wines.' The 8,300 barrels will be replaced over the next five years, according to Comyn. The 2001 Viedo Number Five Rosado is the first fruit of the new team, and is now available ex-cellars. We're delighted with the purity of flavour and the overall quality of the wine,' said Comyn.