Alfredo Maestro El Marciano 2017
'El Marciano' is made from old-vine Garnacha grown in Navarredondilla, a village
located west of Madrid in the Sierra de Gredos mountains. 'El Marciano' is an ethereal wine with powerful acidity from the old vines and diurnal shift in temperature, red and black fruit, and notes of black pepper. The elegant meaty notes make this a great wine to pair with roast pork. The label is a nod to the many UFO sightings in this mountainous region, and the man is a cartoon of Alfredo Maestro himself.
Alfredo’s ascendance is unique to Alfredo. His family came to the winemaking town Penafiel, Ribera del Duero from the Basque Country. Having grown up amongst the vines, Alfredo had a great interest in wine, and, through encouragement from friends, he started making his own wine in 1998. That same year he planted his first vineyard -Almate- on the Rio Duraton near his home. From the beginning he farmed organically. In the cellar, Alfredo was working literally “by-the-book”, teaching himself enology and using every trick to make a “correct” Ribera del Duero wine: yeasts, acid, enzymes, tannins, color-enhancers, etc. were just some of the techniques utilized. In search of serious "purple-ness", this is how many of the modern Ribera del Duero’s of today are produced. In the early 2000’s Alfredo had a revelation. He questioned why as an organic farmer, he used chemicals to make the finished wine; he wanted to work as naturally in the winery as he did in the vineyard, in his words - "to better tell the story of the land." Alfredo began eliminating exogenous products, and in 2003 he began making wine without any additives whatsoever, including sulfur. Alfredo still has a bottle of ‘Castrillo de Duero’ from that initial experimental vintage, and the wine is delicious, developing beautifully, deep, tarry, and tobacco – a great sign of things to come.
Over the past few years, Alfredo has been seeking out neglected parcels around the Ribera del Duero and the nearby Madrid to make wine from. He looks for old vines, poor limestone or granitic soils, and the requisite high elevation that gives freshness to wines grown on Spain’s great Meseta Central. Alfredo has accumulated 9 hectares and two small bodegas, one located in his native Penafiel in the Ribera del Duero, where his father helps with the bodega work, and the other in the Navalcarnero area, southwest of Madrid. Alfredo makes no less than 11 cuvees from single vineyards and most notably from very rare old-vine parcels of Garnacha, Garnacha Tintorera, and Albillo located in the Ribera del Duero; these are grapes that were once embraced in the region but have fallen out of favor due to the region’s fascination with producing a 100% Tinto Fino wine. This prevailing mentality and fascination with spoof has worked to Alfredo’s benefit. He makes some of the most singular white and rosado wines in the region and his tintos are remarkable for their purity and elegance.
Alfredo’s goal is to make "easy wines with character imprinted with the earth and the vintage, authentic stories transmitted differently each year and not modified by the hand of the man in the cellar."
Known for its bold, heady, rustic and age-worthy red wines, Spain is truly a one-of-a-kind wine-producing nation. A great majority of the country is hot, arid and drought-ridden, and since irrigation has only been recently introduced and (controversially) accepted, viticulture has sustained—and flourished—only through a great understanding of Spain’s particular conditions. Large spacing between vines allows each enough resources to survive and as a result, the country has the most acreage under vine compared to any other country, but is usually third in production.
Most planted and respected is Tempranillo, the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. Priorat specializes in bold red blends, Jumilla has gained global recognition for its single varietal Monastrell and Utiel-Requena has garnered recent attention for its reds made of Bobal.