The Hunt For Matallana

Telmo Rodríguez has spent decades exploring Spain’s historic terroirs while restoring the traditional winemaking of centuries past. 

The pay-off has been extraordinary: Telmo’s Las Beatas Rioja has not only amassed a pile of 97- to 100-point ratings, mature vintages now sell for $600-$800 a bottle.

Meanwhile, Telmo has quietly been creating a second Tempranillo masterpiece in Ribera del Duero. Named “Matallana,” its limited distribution in the U.S. has made some vintages as scarce as Las Beatas.

Thanks to our long friendship with Telmo, we’ve received prized direct allocations since 2015, making us the only truly reliable U.S. source for the wine. And now our allocation of the 2019 Matallana is here. 

Two things to note: First, of course, is its 96+ rating from The Wine Advocate’s Luis Gutiérrez. But it is also the last Matallana that will be sold directly by Telmo. Starting with the 2020, it will be sold on the Place de Bordeaux. 

This is a great Matallana and a wine that gets Telmo that much closer to accomplishing in Ribera del Duero what he has done in Rioja. And so it’s a real privilege to offer the wine, direct from the estate, at a world-best price of $59.95 a bottle. 

Ribera’s Mosaic
In creating Matallana, Telmo listened to the region’s old-timers, who steered him in the direction of making wine as they also did in Barolo, by assembling fruit from many villages to achieve ideal balance and complexity. 

He set his sights on five pueblos, ranging from north to south, for the full breadth of the region’s diverse soils, climates, and exposures. Soon enough, he had a palette of eleven terroirs to draw from, both old and young vineyards, all bush-pruned and planted to traditional densities. 

The terroirs range from the calcareous slopes of northern Sotillo de la Ribera and Roa to Fuentecén and Fuentemolinos on the central plateau. Finally, there are the higher-altitude, metamorphic red soils of Pardilla in the warmer south. 

From these sites, using classic methods, Telmo has crafted a wine Gutiérrez calls “a Ribera like the ones from yesteryear!” Accordingly, farming is organic, harvesting is manual, and the wine is born from spontaneous fermentations. Maturation occurs in a mixture of old and new barrels. 

You’ll note a series of black bars on the label, behind which are the names of his eleven parcels. This is Telmo’s way of protesting the Ribera del Duero regulations that forbid vineyard labeling.

We are grateful to share this limited 2019 allocation with you, coming directly from the estate, all at market-best prices. Enjoy.

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