Friday, September 3, 2010

Great mother-daughter winemaking team

Yesterday I had this story in the Los Angeles Times about Verdejo-based wines from Rueda, Spain. With other LA Times stories I have posted tasting notes and wine recommendations on this blog that didn't make the newspaper. But this time, I fit 5 recommendations in the story, and that's really enough.

So here's a blog extra: a little more info about the mother-daughter team behind my favorite Rueda winery, Jose Pariente.

Victoria Pariente, who named the winery after her father, brought her 24-year-old daughter Martina into the business a few years ago, about the time that she split off from her former partner in Dos Victorias, Victoria Benavides.

"I remember the first day I worked in the winery because we had to taste 70 barrels," Martina said. "After I tasted the 70 barrels, I don’t remember more."

"You almost collapsed," Victoria said.

Martina recovered well enough to not only learn from her mother, but to develop her own style. She must have inherited the confidence and independence of a woman, her mother, who decided she could leave a comfortable government job at the laboratory that oversaw regional wine production to start her own winemaking business.

But Victoria has the technical chops; she has a degree in oenology and chemistry from University of Madrid, and spent 10 years at the lab. Martina also plans to study winemaking in Madrid.

"My intention is to follow my mother's work. I want to learn from her, not do something completely different," Martina says.

At the moment, though, Martina is doing just that. She's making 8000 bottles of Martina Rueda Verdejo, all exported to the US. Her English skills are far better than her mother's and she has already successfully done a tasting tour here.

It was fascinating to compare their wines with them present. Martina's wine is more intense and has a slight sweetness that her mother eschews. Victoria's wine is my favorite in Rueda because of its delicious balance and elegance, with not a note out of place.

In short, you have an exuberant young winemaker's wine and a more mature offering (sorry Victoria, I know you're still young too ...)

Victoria can give way more technical details on the making of her wine than anyone but a fellow winemaker would want to hear. Martina is more vague and secretive -- a better marketer already.

"It's not a project for my mother," Martina said. "It's my project. But I don't want to fight with her."

Maybe I wanted to see that happen, because I asked Victoria what she thought of Martina's wine. She dodged it, but not all that skillfully. I followed up by asking what she would think of Martina's more intense style when her daughter eventually takes over Jose Pariente.

"When she takes over, she can do whatever she wants," Victoria said.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I've had three bottles Martina's 07 Rueda over the last year or so that I got from Garagiste. I'm bummed I don't have anymore, because it's definitely one of the best whites I've had in the last couple of years. I'm not that prodigious a drinker, but still...