Today is Día Del Enólogo in Mendoza, a day to honor our winemakers. And so we thought it only fitting to speak with Pablo Martorell about his life as a winemaker growing up in Vista Flores, and his experiences as a winemaker in the area now.
1) You talk a lot about early memories with your grandfather, and this seems to be common in Argentina. Did you know you wanted to make wine from the time you were young? How many other winemakers are in your family and where do they make wine?
My grandfather lived in Camerano, a province of Ancona, Italy. It's a small town where he had a vineyard, made and sold wine, and where many enjoyed time on the bocce court. After WWII, my family immigrated to Argentina, and ultimately Mendoza, where my grandfather established a similar location - a vineyard, where he also sold wine and of course had a bocce court there too, where friends would gather to play and drink wine. Here is where my passion and fanaticism for viticulture began.
All my childhood memories are walking through the vineyards and making wine with my grandfather, at the foot of the Andes. These memories are deeply ingrained and were very influential moments. When I was 5 years old, I remember that my grandfather giving me a taste of wine in all its states; he hid it from my mother of course. He did the same in Italy with his father. Since then I have been learning the art of making wine. I also remember traveling to the estate of my grandfather, where we would walk and chat, and he answered all my questions and indulged my curiousity. This taught me that although I needed a college education to make wine, that hands-on experience with a mentor like my grandfather, who had such passion, is invaluable.
2) What did you enjoy about growing up in this region? What's it like to live in this beautiful, rural area? What do you do on weekends? Where is the best place to have an asado?
What I enjoyed about growing up in this region is that my cousins and I learned about the land altogether. My grandfather, when he settled in Vista Flores with his family of 8 children, was one of the first inhabitants. And so my cousins were 50% of the population!
3) You grew up in Vista Flores. What has changed to you that is most noteworthy in the past few years?
In Vista Flores, until the year 2000, after 10:00 pm there was no one in the street, walking or in cars, and no stores were open. While it was quiet, I always knew it was a very special area. My college friends and I always knew that we would return to Vista Flores. By 2004, only two of our group of 14 had returned ... but later they all 14 came back. And many others have come to the area as well. Due to the benefits of the soil and the mountains, 30 foreign winemaking projects have come to the area. This makes me incredibly proud of the region and for the people who have always lived here. It is an honor for me to work where I was born, grew up, and where the world's best Malbec is created.
4) What is your winemaking 'philosophy'? What are the particular characteristics that tie all your wines together?
All my wines are different - but they are all very complex, full bodied and elegant. And perhaps most importantly, made with a lot of passion.
5) If you are going to drink a wine that is not your own, what would it be?
An Uco Valley wine. I have a great love for this terroir and the wine here.
6) What other winemakers in the area inspire you?
All winemakers in this region who respect the terroir and make wine with passion inspire me.
7) Recently James Suckling gave Recuerdo Wines very high marks. What does this mean to you and what do you think is the significance in the industry?
For me it is an honor because it means that all the people, processes and equipment for both the vineyard and winery are a great success. We're clearly on the right track and it makes us strive even higher for the future.