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Ad Libitum Maturana Tinta

Ad Libitum Maturana Tinta

Perfumed red fruit and spice from one of Spain’s rarest red grapes

DOCa Rioja

Deep cherry red in colour, the wine has a nose packed with spice and notes of chocolate and green pepper. Plenty of cassis, plum and red cherry on the palate.
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Technical details

  • Producer: Juan Carlos Sancha
  • Region: DOCa Rioja
  • Vintage: 2022
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Grapes: Maturana Tinta

Food pairings

This wine will go well with:

  • Lamb
  • Beef
  • Pasta
  • Roast vegetables

Who makes Ad Libitum Maturana Tinta

Juan Carlos Sancha is a man of many parts. An indefatigable researcher and academic, he has taught oenology (the science and study of winemaking) at the University of Rioja for many years. In parallel, through his exhaustive field work he has become the foremost authority in Spain, possibly the world, on minority grape varieties in Rioja.

Juan Carlos’s bodega reflects that obsession with mapping and preserving historic vineyards. Having made wine all over Spain and as far afield as Chile, in 1997 he returned to his native village of Baños de Río Tobía, one of the coolest spots in Rioja in the upper reaches of the Alto Najerilla valley near the Sierra de la Demanda mountain range (Rioja’s southern frontier which separates Spain’s central plateau or meseta from the Ebro river valley). Farming 24 hectares of vineyard, much of which was planted by his great-grandfather, Juan Carlos is dedicated to recovering historic native grape varieties like Maturana Tinta and Maturana Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco – a white grape native to Rioja which is a genetic mutation of the red variety – or Monastel, a grape so rare it doesn’t even figure on the Ministry of Agriculture’s official list of grapes planted in Spain!

The grapes

Although Maturana Tinta has formed part of the vineyard landscape in Rioja from time immemorial, it very nearly became extinct. These days there are just 304 hectares planted in the whole of Spain, about 67% in Rioja. That the grape has managed to survive is down in large part to the efforts of winemakers like Juan Carlos Sancha, who has made the recovery of traditional Riojan grape varieties his life’s work.

Maturana Tinta grows in small, compact bunches, gives good deep colour to its wines, and works brilliantly with wood which helps polish the tannins and give it a velvety feel on the palate. In terms of flavour, wines made with Maturana Tinta tend to have a perfumed fruit profile and good minerality, with occasional touches of licorice and green pepper.

Where Ad Libitum Maturana Tinta is made

Rioja is one of Spain’s best known and best-loved wine regions and is on a par with renowned wine-producing regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, or Barolo in northern Italy.

Sitting in the north of Spain, Rioja runs about 100 km from West to East and 40 km North to South, centred around the city of Logroño. The Ebro river runs through it from West to East. Rioja has just over 66,000 hectares of vineyards, which is about 7% of the Spanish total. In that area you'll find about 14,800 farmers who grow grapes which they then sell on to about 574 actual wine producers.

Traditionally, winemaking in Rioja has put a big focus on blending – mixing together grapes grown in different zones of the region to achieve balanced wines. But in recent years, Riojan producers are lobbying for changes to the rules to allow wine labels to include more specific references to where within Rioja the wines actually come from. It’s a move towards the more terroir-focused approach, used in lots of the other great wine regions of the world.

How Ad Libitum Maturana Tinta is made

The grapes are harvested manually, usually in the second week of October. Once they have been destemmed, the grapes are put into new 500 litre Troncais French oak barrels where they undergo alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. Once the fermentation process is complete, the wine is aged in the same barrels for 11 months before bottling.

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