Maturana Tinta is a near-extinct red wine grape of the Rioja wine region in Spain. It is a relatively late-ripening variety, which distinguishes it immediately from Rioja’s favorite Tempranillo (the name means ‘the little early one’), and therefore benefits from its extended hang-time. These include high potential alcohol, deep pigmentation due to highly developed anthocyanins and (weather conditions permitting) ripe, pronounced tannins.
The few Maturana wines which have been made in modern times have shown aromas of mountain herbs and sweet peppers, flavors more commonly associated with cooler-climate expressions of Syrah or Cabernet Franc. The grape can also add good acidity to a blend.
Maturana grapes once formed a significant part of Rioja's winemaking. Prior to the arrival of the phylloxera louse from the Americas in the late 1860s, they were seen in vineyards all over the region. Phylloxera infestation destroyed a great many vineyards planted with Maturana Tinta vines; those which were not abandoned were uprooted to free up space for new plantings, often for crops other than wine grapes. Unaffected vines aged and died naturally, were typically not replaced - the variety had fallen out of favor as improved clones of Tempranillo and Garnacha arrived on the scene. This left the world with just a few remaining strands of maturana DNA at the start of the 21st century.
Riojan viticulturalist Juan Carlos Sancha discovered the remaining vines, and has made a concerted effort to revive this artifact of Spain’s viticultural heritage. Today, the main concentration of remaining Maturana vines are concentrated in the Rioja Alta sub-region, and grow in limestone-clay soils at altitudes of around 2000ft (610m). In 2007 the Consejo Regulador (the regulatory council) for Rioja’s wine industry gave the variety official recognition in the DOCa laws, and permitted the use of Maturana Tinta grapes in Rioja’s famous red wines. This is a significant first step, but only time will tell whether Maturana’s comeback will match those of Viognier or Carmenere. Maturana Tinta has a mutated Maturana Blanca form, which sometimes goes by the name Ribadavia, which it takes from the town of Ribadavia in Galicia. Rivadavia, one of several viticultural sub-regions in Mendoza, Argentina, shares this etymology.
Related grape varieties include: Maturana Blanca.
Food matches include:
Europe: Pimientos rellenos (stuffed bell-peppers)
Australasia/Oceania: Paprika spiced lamb chops with chick pea and roasted bell pepper salad