Saturday, 21 December 2013

Spain continues to yield her secrets, grudgingly

We find ourselves quite frequently in Spain and just love to visit wine stores and make side-trips in search of Spanish treasure. Undoubtably this exists and Slotovino has come across several interesting varieties which are kept firmly under the wraps as far as the Spanish people are concerned. How many times have we heard wine merchants moaning about the conservatism of their customers and how they would love to stock all kinds of interesting wines were it not for the fact they can't sell them?

Spain yields its riches only stingily and so it was on our last trip we came across what we thought were two gems from Conde Valdemar's Inspiracion series, Maturana (red) and Tempranillo Blanco. They also make a 100% Graciano among other more common varieties, but we had never heard of either of these Rioja grapes so were more than pleased to find two bottles dediceted to them at La Cartuja in Marbella.

According to 'Wine Grapes', Maturana tinto is nothing other than Trousseau but Valdemar proudly proclaims their Maturana to be 'Unica en el mundo', 'World exclusive': an indiginous Rioja variety recently revived. Unless there is a difference between Maturana and Maturana Tinto, it would seem the claims to exclusivity are poorly informed.

On the other hand there is a mystery as to how Trousseau - generally accepted to have originated in the Jura - made it to Spain and Portugal where, going by the name of Bastardo it is quite widely planted. There is also a Maturana Blanca which seems genuienly to be a unique variety, unrelated to Maturana Tinta and occupying only 3 ha. of land in Rioja. Enoteca La Cartuja didn't stock this unfotunately.

Bodegas Valdemar is on safer ground with their Tempranillo Blanco, a genuine mutation of Tempranillo only discovered and propagated relatively recently. This was included by Julia Harding MW and Jose Vouillamoz in a recent masterclass in 10 Native Iberian Grapes at the Rioja Digital Wine Communications Conference in October 2013. for interest the varieties were;

  1. Albillo de Albacete (Spain)
  2. Alvarelhão (Portugal)
  3. Antão Vaz (Portugal)
  4. Callet (Spain)
  5. Hondarribi Beltza (Spain)
  6. Jampal (Portugal)
  7. Maturana Blanca (Spain)
  8. Tempranillo Blanco (Spain)
  9. Touriga Fêmea (Portugal)
  10. Vital (Portugal)
Finally, chez Casa Pablo we found an Ensemblaje by Bentomiz including Tinta Rome, we know not in what proportion although hopefully a majority, being listed first, Petit Verdot, tempranillo and Cabernet Franc.

The search continues...

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