An icon from the Golden Mile of Ribera del Duero...
Matarromera winery was founded in 1988 by Carlos Moro, who decided to follow his roots and come back to what has been the family business for centuries; nowadays he is one of Spain’s most respected and well-known winemakers.
His very first wine, Matarromera Crianza 1994, was acclaimed by the prestigious International Wine Challenge as The Best Wine in the World, what encouraged him in his belief that he was working in the right direction.
What he was seeking, and what he obtained, was a wine which displayed expression of the land and of the limestone rock of Ribera del Duero, and of the Tempranillo grape. The result was a special wine in which mature dark fruits really stood out, and were balanced by skillful use of wooden barrels.
But how did he achieve it, from scratch, in his very first vintage?
He renewed his family estate, and added new plots, of 100 hectares in size on the northern slope of the Duero valley, in the best areas: Pesquera, Valbuena de Duero and Olivares de Duero. This is in the so-called Golden Mile of Ribera del Duero, close to the river Duero and with excellent exposure to the sun. The grape, of course, is Tempranillo, the great grape of Ribera del Duero, also known here as Tinta del País.
In order to make wine with the care that such grapes deserve he built a new winery, semi-underground and with the latest innovative winemaking technology. The grapes are selected with extreme care and destemmed berry by berry.
There is a state-of-the-art sorting table that removes unripe grapes or grapes of the wrong size or colour. They also have a particular system that can lower the pH of the unfermented grape juice as well as in the wines, and which removes unwanted potassium and calcium that can lead later to a deposit in the bottle.
The handling of oak is equally detailed. Bodega Matarromera currently has 2485 barrels, half of which are American, and half of which are French. Different levels of toast, and indeed different types of oak are constantly being trialled in order that the right barrels might be matched with the right parcels of vines: what they seek is a perfect understanding of what each parcel of vines needs in terms of wood, each year – and of course each vintage offers different conditions.
The Verdejo is the bodega’s only white wine and is from Rueda. It is barrel fermented in French new oak, and crisp and bright in style, very harmonious and full of flavours of passionfruit and mango, herbs, aniseed and white flowers tinged with spice: cloves, vanilla, cedarwood; a long and elegant wine.
The reds, though, are the focus of the bodega. Matarromera Crianza displays perfectly the balance of fruit and wood typical of Matarromera. It is aged for 14 months in 225-litre American oak barrels from the Appalachian Mountains, fine-grained and with medium toast. It is aged for another 10 months in bottle before release. It’s an intense, complex wine, full of very ripe black fruit and spice, flavourful and very long.
For Matarromera Reserva the oak comes mostly from new American oak with final ageing in new French oak up to 18 months in total. Again, the barrels are medium-toast. This is a wine of great complexity and refinement, with notes of black pepper, spice, licorice, minerals, tobacco and black chocolate, all built on sweet tannins.
Matarromera Prestigio is made from grapes on the lower part of Pago de las Solanas estate, and only made in top years. The wine is aged for nine months in French Allier oak, and is then racked into new American oak: a subtle, powerful, very modern wine.
The Gran Reserva has longer ageing: 24 months in the best French barrels, followed by three years in bottle. The result is a wine of great stylishness and poise.
Matarromera 25 Aniversario was, as you might guess, introduced to mark the bodega’s first 25 years. The grapes come from the very best part of Pago de las Solanas and the wine is aged in new French Burgundian oak for 19 months.
Translated by Oliver Zhou / 周维
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