This rare wine represents Elena's noble mission to restore the authenticity of her hometown's terroir. Made from a recently rediscovered native grape variety, Maturana Tinta, that had all but disappeared until a handful of vines were found in Rioja in the early 90s. The grape’s genetic profile coincides with that of the almost extinct French variety, Castets, a cousin of Cabernet Franc.
The organically grown Maturana Tinta vineyard that Elena cares for was passed down through her family and is one of the first that was replanted with the grape variety. It's located in her hometown of Navarrete, La Rioja. Elena herself has planted roughly 2000 more vines in 2014. She only produces 600 bottles per season and does absolutely everything by hand.
After manually harvesting and de-stemming, the grapes undergo natural fermentation with their indigenous yeasts. The wine is then aged in amphoras that are locally made from Navarrete's famous red clay.
The area has a long tradition of artisanal alfarería (pottery) which Elena is also working to bring back to life, her paternal grandfather was a potter. The distinctly red clay of Navarrete is highly mineral and less porous than that of other regions, and Elena notes that it elevates the Maturana's qualities while adding roundness to the texture.
"The clay gives the wine a more complex and elegant character, and also helps to preserve the freshness and acidity of the grape, allowing it to express itself in a more natural way." – Elena Corzana
The wine is spicy and floral, with distinct aromas of cracked peppercorns and violets. The Maturana's freshness and acidity are exceptionally maintained thanks to the amphora aging and the tannins are pleasant. The finish has some herbal notes and a chalky dry texture. Truly a magical wine and very unique.
Elena was born in Navarrete, La Rioja, her family has been involved in wine for generations. She is an agricultural engineer, oenologist, sommelier, viticulturist, and now produces her own wines. After her studies, Elena worked in renowned wineries in Rioja, Montpellier France, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, and Chile before finally returning home to focus on making wines from her family’s vineyards. Apart from wine, Elena also produces small batch artisanal olive oil from her family's olive grove.
Elena is a partner to Albae Wine Club and represents us in Rioja, her expert opinion and friendship is invaluable.
Annual Production: 600 (The club has access to 60 annually)
Type: Tinto (red)
Finish: long and dry
Grape Variety: 100% Maturana Tinta
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable & Organic - Terroir Driven
Ageing: 12 months in clay amphoras
Winemakers: Elena Corzana
Bodega: Elena Corzana
Region: La Rioja, Subregion Leza y Iregua, municipality of Moncalvillo
Designation of Origin: DOCa Rioja
Micro-Climate: Mediterranean/Continental – cool & humid winters (2ºC) and hot dry summers (29ºC)
Elevation: Average 500-560 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: 10 years
Soil: Red Soil, mostly clay
- Drink now or keep for up to 5 years
- Open 10 minutes before serving
- Pairs well with red meats, Manchego cheese, Jamon Iberico, stews, paella and other rice dishes, chocolate desserts
- Ideally served just below room temperature
Elena's family vineyards of Maturana Tinta are located at the foot of the Moncalvillo mountains in the Leza y Iregua subregion of La Rioja. The distincty red soils are mostly composed of clay. The summers are warm, dry, and mostly clear and the winters are very cold, windy, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 1 °C to 28 °C and is rarely below -3 °C or above 35 °C.
The Rioja DOCa (DOCa = Denominación de Origen Calificada) is one of the oldest in Spain and the region has a history of producing wine dating back to the Phoenicians and Celtiberians in the 9th century CE.
The popular wine region is located in the northern part of Spain, about 240 kilometres north of the capital, Madrid, and 95 kilometres south of Bilbao.
The Rioja viticultural area is very diverse. It stretches about 120 Kilometres long by 40 Kilometres wide, and is crossed from Northwest to Southeast by one of the longest rivers in Spain, the Ebro river, with seven of its tributaries and their corresponding valleys, and six mountain ranges.
Some call it the land of a thousand wines, but it is even more diverse than that. You might have read that the region is divided into three main areas; Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Oriental (formerly Rioja Baja).
This division is obsolete and it is being reviewed because it doesn’t provide detailed information about the great variety of Terroirs and viticultural traditions of La Rioja. The new Terroir-oriented partition will be formed by six to eight subregions.
In 2017 the Consejo Regulador of the Rioja DOCa introduced a new wine classification system, moving away from the similarly obsolete classification of oak-ageing as an indication of quality (remember: Genérico, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva).
Now on the wine labels apart from the indication of the traditional zones (Rioja Alta, Alavesa, or Oriental), and the municipality (Note: there are 145 Municipios in the viticultural region of La Rioja), you may now find the indication of Viñedo Singular (a similar concept to "Grand Cru” vineyards in La Bourgogne).
Completely artisanal and hand made. The grapes are harvested by Elena and her friends from her family vineyards, at the foot of Moncalvillo mountain. The grapes are de-stemmed by hand, and fermentation occurs naturally with the grapes indigenous yeasts in locally made amphoras. The wine is subsequently aged for a year in the amphora.
Born and raised in Navarrete, La Rioja, Elena’s family has been involved in viticulture and winemaking for generations. One of Elena’s earliest memories is of visiting the family vineyard with her grandfather, riding on the tractor, from that moment she knew what she loved.
Elena is a veritable multifaceted talent, she’s an agricultural engineer, oenologist, sommelier, viticulturist, and now produces her own wines. After her studies, Elena worked in renowned wineries in Rioja, Montpellier France, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, and Chile before finally returning home to focus on making wines from her family’s vineyards. Apart from wine, Elena also produces small batch artisanal olive oil from her family's olive grove.
She works with native grape varieties of Rioja, Graciano, and a very rare variety called Maturana Tinta that had all but disappeared, but was rediscovered in Rioja in 1991. The grape’s genetic profile coincides with that of the almost extinct French variety, Castets, a cousin of Cabernet Franc.
Initially there were 35 vines of Maturana found in Navarrete, today there are roughly 229 hectares across Rioja, but Elena owns the first vineyard (passed down from her mother) planted with this variety. "There are a total of 2,000 vines in two plots that I completed with more plants in 2014 in the La Lámpara area.”
Elena’s obsession is to restore the authenticity of Navarrete’s lost terroir by planting more native Maturana vines, but also by restoring the traditional hands-on approach to winemaking. Everything is done by hand, her yields are small, her vineyards are organic, and she produces some 2000 bottles per season.
Navarrete is a crossroads, one of the most notable stops on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and also the Ignatian route, and in its day it was also an important wine town, home to centuries-old wineries.
"I would like to collaborate in returning my town to the wine map, from which, for various circumstances, it has been diluted and I think that the Maturana Tinta from Navarrete is a good opportunity, since we have good soils, a cool microclimate and, perhaps what we lack is looking more towards the origin and identity of our vineyards.”
Elena’s hometown of Navarrete is also the cradle of the famous red clay which gives life to the area’s alfarería (pottery). Elena’s paternal grandfather was a potter. The local clay is used to handcraft tinajas (amphoras) in which the wine is fermented and aged. The clay from Navarrete is very mineral and pure, and has a lower porosity than those from La Mancha; producing the wine in tinajas helps to maintain the characteristic qualities of the grapes and gives the wine a well-rounded mouth feel.
"The clay gives the wine a more complex and elegant character, and also helps to preserve the freshness and acidity of the grape, allowing it to express itself in a more natural way."
That is precisely what she wants to achieve, to reflect the essence of a terroir that she has come to know with the passing of the years and that she has decided to recover to its former glory.
93 Points - Luis Gutiérrez Santo Domingo (Wine Advocate, Robert Parker)
The unashamedly spicy, peppery and floral 2020 Maturana was produced with grapes from a vineyard she planted in 2014 in her village, Navarrete, where it was recovered and which she has farmed organically since 2018. She fermented it in a clay pot from the Basque Country where she added some 40 kilograms of white Viura from old vines. It has a really spectacular nose of violets and freshly cracked peppercorns, different and expressive. It's ripe at 14% alcohol but keeps very good balance and freshness, and the tannins are fine. It finishes with an unmistakable herbal note and a chalky texture. 600 bottles were filled in November 2021.