2020 Acentor Maturana Rioja
Maturana is an obscure grape also known as Trousseau, though some believe it to be identical with Castets (an even rarer French grape) instead. Though unusual, Maturana was a popular grape in Rioja once-upon-a-time. After phylloxera destroyed most of the vines, it took over a century for the authorities to allow Rioja winemakers to bottle Maturana again.
Acentor belongs to the Isaac Fernandez Seleccion portfolio, a collab between the eponymous winemaker (one of Spain's most important) and Aurelio Cabestrero. Among their focuses includes prioritizing rare, indigenous grape varieties in their native terroirs. They aged their 2020 Maturana in French oak for 1 year after fermenting with native yeasts, using grapes grown in prized limestone-rich soils. It is medium-plus-bodied and juicy with intense dark berries and spices.
“…This is the discovery of the year. The grape is unknown to me as a varietal wine, but the result here is marvelous….It is a marvel that combines a bright, energetic freshness with savory undertones that are really perfect counterpoints, as this is either a light and refreshing red or a much more serious wine that’s coiled for years of development….It reminds me first of tart blackberries…but also riper Bing cherries, and it is interesting that the fruit notes are for me black-toned but still so bright, as though there was a fruit like cranberries in it also, though the flavors just don’t ring that bell of red-fruit recollection. There’s almost no cellar work intruding on the fruit’s ability to show its stuff, though maceration, fermentation, and barrel aging surely accentuated the savory undertones that provide the interplay and complexity that make this a savory wine of intricacy rather than a mere curiosity....Everyone who reads this review should not only remember the rare and recently revived variety ‘Maturana,’ but also the name of Isaac Fernandez, who is one of Spain’s most important winemakers, though you might not know that on account of his modesty. Wow – what a find.” – 93 Points, Michael Franz, Wine Review Online