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Angel Rodriguez has for more than a decade fashioned one of Spain’s most compelling dry white wines. And with each successive vintage of Martinsancho, this humble farmer has pushed the envelope on quality. The 2009 Martinsancho is a veritable tour de force in winemaking and the most profound dry Verdejo we have ever tasted. The 2009 Martinsancho sports a beautiful sun splashed robe and a knockout nose. An amplifying aroma of apricot, fresh citrus, spring flowers, minerals, and liquid stones – all of which signal a purity rarely seen in other white wines – wafts from the glass and caresses the nose. As always, the savor and gustatory pleasure that emanate from this wine are equally spellbinding. From its bright golden green robe to its long intense finish, the brilliant 2009 Martinsancho Verdejo is nothing short of shear pleasure. A purer, more natural white wine would be impossible to find. No wonder wine critic Robert Parker Jr. once made this comment after tasting an earlier vintage of Martinsancho: “This is the best dry white table wine I have tasted from Spain”. . . and we are pleased to add that the best has just gotten even better . . . again! Enjoy the outstanding 2009 Martinsancho moderately chilled (40º-45º F).
The 2009 Martinsancho Verdejo, like its predecessors, needs no accompaniment to shine; its purity and individuality speak volumes on their own. Nonetheless, great food enhances great wine and vice versa, so we suggest doubling the pleasure of your visit with the 2009 Martinsancho Verdejo with some well chosen dishes. Over the years, some of our favorite pairings with Martinsancho have included tapas, hors d’oeuvres, smoked salmon with capers, various kinds of white fish, shellfish, poultry, and paella, providing the paella is not too highly charged. In addition, we highly recommend serving grilled red snapper, rock fish, sea bass, or tilapia with Martinsancho. California rolls, sushi, sashimi, and spring rolls make good companions, too. Better still, why not have a party, invite some new acquaintances, and serve the Martinsancho as your opening act? We can almost guarantee that after the first bottle of Angel Rodriquez’s magical Martinsancho Verdejo you’ll have a host of new friends. Enjoy!
We have always thought the man and the story behind this incredible little bodega are nearly as intriguing as the property’s wonderful wine. Indeed, Angel Rodriguez and the emergence of Rueda as the most prestigious still white wine-producing region of Spain are synonymous. Angel’s story is the story of a unique grape called Verdejo. Although Verdejo is one of only a handful of truly noble Spanish white grape varietals, Verdejo was in serious danger of extinction by the early 1970’s due to the pervasive planting of more prolific native varietals such as Viura and Palomino and the introduction of international favorites such as Chardonnay. Through his loving refusal to uproot his ancient 17th century vineyard called Martinsancho, Angel Rodriguez saved the shy bearing, thick-skinned Verdejo from extinction.
The original majuelo or 17th century vineyard of Martinsancho is less than one acre of gnarled, ungrafted vines, preserved in isolation as a museum of pre-phylloxera viticulture and a continuing source of undisputed varietal authenticity. Once considered an anachronism and an economic liability, nurseries throughout Europe now treasure the Martinsancho vineyard and its beloved Verdejo for the vine cuttings it provides and the legacy it has preserved. Yet, forty years ago no one seemed to care about this old vineyard with extremely low yielding vines; in fact, few had even heard of Martinsancho’s existence. Besides, Verdejo was not deemed profitable enough then by most experts to preserve, let alone grow, despite the vine’s noble pedigree and the undisputed quality of the wine it produced. Yet, in spite of the prevailing pressure and “expert advice” to uproot the old vineyard, Angel Rodriguez preserved it, and then undertook the near impossible and what many have called sheer lunacy: he re-grafted a vineyard by hand onto 25 acres of premier land, using Verdejo cuttings from the Martinsancho vineyard.
Subsequently, other Rueda growers have planted Verdejo with the help of Angel Rodriguez, to the point that today this shy bearing vine is once again the leading white grape varietal in Rueda. For his great sacrifice and untiring efforts in favor of re-establishing Verdejo’s prominence in its region of origin, Angel Rodriguez has been officially honored by King Juan Carlos of Spain. Yet, in spite of his great accomplishment and the recognition that followed, Angel Rodriquez remains a humble man who believes in tradition. He steadfastly maintains a very low-tech approach to the natural production of his wine, which is totally organic and includes little or no added sulfites – a rarity, especially among white wines.
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