Rioja Blanco Selección ‘Mónica Martínez’ La Rioja Alta 2012
Gregorio Martínez, Nalda, La Rioja Alta
“Gregorio Martínez started his Rioja project in 1998, and somehow, he has been flying under the radar, because his wines are little known and deserve more attention....”
Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate February 2018
The current winery was constructed in time for the 2001 vintage, with grapes sourced from a 120 hectare estate, 40 hectares of which are under vine. The vineyards are located in the Iregua Valley, between the villages of Nalda, Sorzano and Entrena. Formerly meadows, the magnificent centenary oaks that can be found in the gardens are testament to the microclimate found here, close to the mountain ranges of Moncalvillo and Camero. The soils here are deep and consist predominantly of thick red clay and sedimentary sand, pebbles and sedimentary rock. The founder of the project was Gregorio Martínez, who started to purchase land around Sorzano, his wife’s hometown, in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s.
Currently managed by his descendants, the project changed dramatically following the appointment of head winemaker Ricardo Cantera back in 2009. Recently, they have embarked on making a new range, Finca Gregorio Martínez; fresh reds and whites as Ricardo likes to work with very low quantities of sulphites. At 700m of altitude and north-oriented, the vineyard suffers under extreme climate conditions. Harvest never starts before the second week of October and in some years it may not finish until November. All grapes are hand-harvested into small crates of 15kg. With up to five different clones grown on the estate, Tempranillo is the dominant grape while Mazuelo (Carignan) and Viura cover around two hectares each. A recently introduced range - Finca Gregorio Martínez includes a clean, vibrant white Viura; a vibrant, pale-coloured rosé made from Tempranillo and a Mazuelo aged in oak for 8 months plus two single-varietal reds crafted from Tempranillo and Mazuelo respectively. Rather unusually the malolactic fermentation takes place in the same tank with skins, resulting in wines that exude a natural freshness, expressing notes of wild herb. It is, in any case, quite a challenge to grow successfully late ripening varieties like Mazuelo in such a cool area.
Rioja Blanco Selección ‘Mónica Martínez’ - 90% Viura, 10% others. Sourced from “La Dehesilla” parcel at 700m altitude, north-facing as well as a selection of north-west facing old vines from Cárdenas (Najerilla) at 550m. Vines planted: Viura (2ha) in 1985; other varieties planted at various dates from 1904-1945. Destalking is followed by 7-9 days skin contact in stainless steel vats without sulphur and with natural carbon dioxide; grapes are then pressed, clarified and fermented in 225L American oak barrels with indigenous yeast. Aged on its lees for 24 months with a further 2 years ageing in bottle. Lightly fined with bentonite.