The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2013

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Page 58 of 152

María Martínez Marín, amidst vineyards near Bodegas Patrocinio facilities PHOTOS COURTESY OF BODEGAS PATROCINIO SPAIN María Martínez Marín SHEDS TEARS OF JOY Turning Up the Heat on Tempranillo by Jonathan Cristaldi I María Martínez Marín achieves a perfect pink tinge in the Lágrimas De María Tempranillo Rosado. n the heart of Rioja, situated in a privileged area of the subzone of Rioja Alta, at the cradle of the Spanish wine industry, a forward-thinking consortium comprised of 200 local farmers called Bodegas Patrocinio is focused on superior quality and the production of their wine under their own labels. The workers maintain detailed soil maps on all vineyards (close to 1,300 acres), and experiments are conducted in tandem with the University of Rioja, on terroir and Tempranillo expression. For the farmers, strict quality control rules and incentives for high quality grapes provide Bodegas Patrocinio with choice fruit for the wines they produce. The winemaker in charge is María Martínez Marín, who grew up in Seville, a historical town in the south of Spain, though her family roots run deep in Rioja. Martínez Marín, who brings a little Andalusian temperament to the north, has worked only in cooperatives since 1995 when she left a pharmaceutical career to study viticulture and enology. Her first job was with a cooperative in Rioja Baja, as a laboratory assistant under Rafael Usoz, a brilliant local technician who became a close friend and mentor. Bodegas Patrocinio's workforce is primarily female and winemaking efforts are approached as if "raising a child—being women, we put all our eggs in one basket to get the best result possible," says Marín. Their natural nurturing efforts are paying off: A fairly young brand for the consortium, Lágrimas De María, was recently awarded the Gold Medal Baco Award by the Spanish Sommeliers Association, naming the 2012 vintage (a rosé of Tempranillo) the Best Rosé of the Year. The name "Maria's Tears" is suggestive of the hard work that Martínez Marín has put into these wines. "What I like most about Tempranillo is the way it adapts to our area, Rioja Alta. It is our grape variety par excellence!" exclaims Martínez Marín. "Almost all of our red wines are made from it, and although we have Grenache too, we decided to take the risk and also make a 100 percent Tempranillo Rosé. "Tempranillo confers a very distinguishable character when compared to a rosé made from Grenache or another variety. It offers a very appetizing nose and a genuine mouthfeel, has good structure and a very attractive aftertaste clearly identifiable with the character of Rioja," explains the winemaker. In recent years, the major style debate with respect to the De María Rosado was over color—consumers can be finicky when it comes to the tinge of rosé in the glass. Martínez Marín says there's a need to pay careful attention to the maceration time of the skins, "to prevent obtaining an excessively colored rosé. There have been years that even four hours of maceration have been more than enough to achieve the perfect pink color." There's another interesting layer to the De María wines, and it's a tactile one: The labels all feature braille, which according to Marín, "derives from the high sensitivity of the winery staff to disadvantaged persons." With only 5,000 cases of the De María Rosado produced, and only 500 cases imported to the U.S. by Ascent Wines Inc. (FL) and Baystate Wine & Spirits (MA), they are wines to seek out as they appeal to any level of connoisseur. Under the same brand, the Bodegas Patrocinio consortium also makes a white Viura, as well as Joven, Crianza and Reserva Tempranillos. "At the consortium, we make a broad range of authentic wines while listening to the different consumer needs," says Martínez Marín, adding that there is an innate desire to "excel in terms of quality for the price." 58  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2013 TP1013_034-65.indd 58 9/23/13 10:34 PM

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