A prominent exponent of the natural movement in Spain, Maestro rose from wine geek to winemaker in the late nineties. Since then, he has devoted himself to the recovery of small and ancient plots of vineyards (mostly Tempranillo, Grenache and Albillo) in his hometown of Peñafiel (Valladolid), as well as in the nearby Botijas valley and in the area of Valtiendas (Segovia). He also produces Grenache coming from granitic soils in Ávila (Sierra de Gredos) and other red wines based on Tempranillo and Grenache in Navalcarnero (Madrid). All his labels remain outside the scope of appellations and are sold as table wines or within the IGP category VT Castilla y León.
Viña Almate is the wine to look for, due to its higher production (20,000 bottles in 2013, €6) and great value for money. A Tempranillo from the Duero area, it is clearly reminiscent of the best young reds that used tp be found in Ribera some 15 years ago. Also highly recommended are the two single vineyard reds coming from Peñafiel (in both cases with small additions of sulphur), La Olmera (€20) and La Guindalera (€20), and a Grenache single varietal sold under the Viña Almate (€16) brand. Other curiosities include a Garnacha Tintorera rosé (Amanda, €10) and a carbonic maceration Grenache (El Rey del Glam,€10).
The vineyard is managed in an organic and biodynamic way, and in the winery non-intervention is the rule. Fermentations are done with natural yeasts, often using stems in red wines and skin contact for as long as a week in the case of the Albillo Lovamor (€10). Aging is made in used barrels that range from 225 to 500 litres, meaning that oak is hardly noticeable in Maestro’s wines.