Straight from the Vines: Pablo Martorell, Head Winemaker
Pablo Martorell, Head Winemaker
Pablo Martorell, born and raised in Tunuyan, also home to The Vines of Mendoza´s vineyard, has spent the majority of his life surrounded by wine, and was introduced to it by his grandfather when he was just a toddler. Pablo is our Head Winemaker, making 300 different wines per year for our 176 vineyard owners from around the world. He wears many hats in the winery, managing winemaking, scheduling bottlings, racking barrels, walking the vineyards and helping owners develop their winemaking plans, not to mention the logistics of creating 300 wines per year over several vintages.
We spent a few minutes with Pablo recently to get his thoughts on what comprises a good wine and growing up in the Uco Valley.
TVOM: When did you first start your relationship with wine? What led you to work in wine?
PM: I think I was born to be a winemaker. My relationship with wine started from the influence of my grandfather Eugenio, when I was very young. He had a small vineyard and artisanal winery where he produced Malbec and Malbec Rosé. He taught me how to correctly taste grapes in the vineyard, walking through the rows every day, and that remains a key part of my daily practice.
TVOM: What is the best wine region in the world in your opinion?
PM: Vista Flores of course! But beyond Argentina, my favorite wines are from Bourdeaux, St. Emilion (Pomerol), and Montalcino (Tuscany). Bourdeaux and St. Emilion are special to me because they showed me the limitless romance and happiness that wine brings during my harvests spent working there. Plus they are producing such great quality wines! Montalcino is special to me because that is where my family comes from.
TVOM: How do you feel when you open a bottle of wine?
PM: Excited, nervous, and thinking about how I can make the wine better. I´m very critical of my own wines, looking for any possible defects. It´s a bit more fun to taste a friend´s wine, as I´m more curious than critical.
TVOM: Which of our private vineyard owner wines do you find the most interesting?
PM: I like Andrico, from our New York vineyard owner Rich Saperstein, and Caprice, from our Seattle-based owners Mike and Caprice Brochu, quite a bit. They are wines with a lot of body and elegance, and the fruit expression is superb. The owners are also very involved every step of the way, which is fun for me. The other types of wines I like seem to be a bit crazy. Our CEO´s Zinfandel and Angelota, Dario Rosenzvit´s Grenache, and our blend of Marsanne, Rousanne, and Viognier.
TVOM: How do private vineyard owner wines differ from each other?
PM: There are hundreds of decisions that go into making a wine -- so we work with our owners to educate them and help them make as many decisions as they like. Although the terroir is relatively homogenous, the wines show remarkable variety and breadth, reflecting the personality and desires of each owner. Every owner has their own personal microclimate. In addition, our winery was created to make unique wines and encourage owner creativity, rather than wines that have a uniform style.
TVOM: What does The Vines´motto -- Nada Es Imposible -- mean to you?
PM: It defines The Vines. It might also mean that we´re crazy, but in a good way. We started using this phrase as a company when we built our winery in a very short timeframe - that is why we have it written prominently on our wall. It also refers to our accomplishment of making 300 different wines per year while the average winery makes less than ten.
TVOM: What activity should everyone visiting the resort be sure to do?
PM: See sunrise in the mountains, watch the sunset in the mountains while enjoying a glass (or bottle) of wine, or, if they are feeling adventurous, take a hike in Chorros de la Vieja to see a beautiful waterfall in the Andes.
TVOM: What is something about you that no one knows?
PM: I´m a professor of enology (winemaking) at the Instituto de Educación Superior in Uco Valley. It has been a great recruiting opportunity for us and many of our employees in the winery have been, or are currently, my students. Also, not many people know that I love microbiology. It´s an opportunity to analyze, on a granular level, how to make the best and most unique wine possible.
TVOM: Who, alive or dead, would you share your dream dinner with? What would you eat and who would prepare it?
PM: It would be an honor to share an asado prepared by Francis Mallmann in the Andes with Father Francisco Oreglia, a priest who introduced the first books of enology in Argentina. He was one of the most influential pioneers of Argentine winemaking.
TVOM: What wine would you recommend to our US friends celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow?
PM: Zorzal Eggo Filiso Pinot Noir 2014 from Gualtallary - a perfect turkey pairing.