Named Winemaker of the Year by Tim Atkin MW and receiving 100 Parker Points for the 1986 Castillo Ygay Blanco, it´s been a whirlwind twelve months for Maria Vargas. We caught up with her ahead of the harvest to get to know her a little better…
What made you want to become a winemaker?
Since childhood, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself professionally to something related to living things, when I became an adult I knew that oenology and viticulture would be my life and I focused my studies in those areas.
How would you describe your winemaking style?
Part of the style has been influenced by more than 100 years of history and is driven by the estate, and the other part is the improvements in knowledge and technology. In Marqués de Murrieta, the most important feature is the Ygay estate. With 300 hectares, we have an outstanding array of grape varieties (most of them indigenous) but also a rich variety of different soils, exposures and altitudes – the gems being our single vineyards. I believe it is very important to apply viticulture practices according not only to each of the wines we want to create but also to the extensive diversity of each plot of the Ygay Estate.
What is the single wine you’re most proud of so far and why?
It is impossible for me to answer this question. I am proud of every single wine for different reasons. It’s impossible to highlight one above the others!
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
The moment of elaboration is very special. To be side by side with both grapes and wines, see the grape entering our cellars and being transformed into wine is truly unique.
What would you still like to achieve in your career?
I would like to keep the same excitement and curiosity I have with each harvest.
If there was only time to drink one more bottle of wine, what wine would it be?
I would, without a doubt, drink a historic vintage of Castillo Ygay Blanco, more specifically the 1950. It has everything that I look for in a wine, fruit (although it might be hard to believe with a white wine of that age), complexity, elegance, length, a very long ageing period both in oak and in bottle. In short, a mixture of finesse and power influenced by the passage of time that makes it totally unforgettable.