Maturana Blanca is one of several varieties saved from near extinction by Viña Ijalba and their partners in Rioja, including the Regulatory Council of D.O.C.a Rioja, the University of Rioja, and the government of La Rioja. Dedicated to innovation, research, and the environment, Viña Ijalba embarked on a project to differentiate the wines of Rioja on the international market while preserving the heritage of the region. Subsequently, this led them to become the first winery to produce single varietal wines of Maturana Blanca, Maturana Tinta, Tempranillo Blanco, and Graciano respectively.
The Variety: Maturana Blanca
With a mention dating back to 1622, Maturana Blanca is the oldest grape variety to have a written record in Rioja. This high fertility variety typically has small clusters and small berries. It’s thick skin equates to good resistance to fungal diseases in the vineyard. However, this early budding variety runs the risk of spring frost damage.
This grape often needs short pruning systems in the vineyard because it is a vigorous variety. It’s also highly susceptible to wind damage, which makes trellising all the more advantageous.
Maturana Blanca has high total acidity, high levels of tartaric acid, and low potassium levels. This combination helps offset potentially high levels of alcohol.
Road to Recovery
The recovery process of Rioja’s minority varieties began in 1988 when vineyard surveys of the region led by Dr. F. Martínez de Toda began. Consequently, the surveys uncovered numerous minority varieties autochthonous to the region with potential for increased cultivation.
In 1993, a germplasm vineyard of the recovered varieties was planted on plots surrounding Viña Ijalba. This experimental vineyard allowed project participants to determine which varieties were most viable for production. Of all the recovered varieties, Maturana Blanca had the most potential as a front running white variety in Rioja.
Viña Ijalba planted it’s first 100% Maturana Blanca vineyard in 1995. The winery received a three-year Center for Industrial Technological Development project in 1998. This project enabled them to recover the previously mentioned minority varieties. A few years later, Viña Ijalba marketed the first Maturana Blanca varietal wine in 2001.
As of 2019, there are 27.65 hectares of this variety planted in Rioja. Furthermore, 5 of those hectares belong to Viña Ijalba.
Viña Ijalba Maturana Blanca Rioja D.O.C.a 2019
- Brilliant golden yellow in the glass with greenish hues
- Medium pronounced aromas of ripe tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, and honeydew
- Delicate aromas of juicy peach, jasmine, and flint
- Full bodied, full flavored, and dry with a very smooth palate and medium acidity
- Tropical fruit flavors of pineapple, mango, and honeydew with a touch of blossom
- Medium+ length finish with great flavor concentration