Pawn Star Maturana Tinta

Maturana Tinta is a near-extinct red wine grape of Spain’s most famous wine region, Rioja. It is a grapegrowers heartache, being soft skinned and a late-ripening variety, which distinguishes it immediately from Rioja’s favourite Tempranillo. We planted the variety in Macclesfield in 2015 with the idea of blending it with our Tempranillo, however after the first vintage, I realised that this is a stand alone wine, which required a rare and unique package design. The 2018 Pawn Maturana Tinta is the first made in Australia, and possibly the world’s first made outside of Rioja. It is the star wine in the Pawn Wine Co pawnfolio, thus I gave it the name Pawn Star. Only 60 dozen wine was made.

Maturana once formed a significant part of Rioja’s winemaking landscape. Prior to the arrival of the phylloxera from the Americas in the late 1860s, they were seen in vineyards all over the region. Unaffected vines aged and died naturally and were typically not replaced, the variety fell out of favour as improved clones of Tempranillo and Garnacha arrived on the scene. This left the world with just a few remaining strands of Maturana DNA at the start of the 21st century.

The Resurrection – A Riojan viticulturalist, Juan Carlos Sancha, discovered the remaining vines and made a concerted effort to revive this artefact of Spain’s viticultural heritage.

I was wanting a blend of WTF and WOW. The wine is completely bonkers with colour - almost an unnatural neon purple hue, with amazingly silky soft tannins - quite a contradiction between what the eye sees, and the mind / palate is expecting.

I have a massive case of label envy, when I walk into a bottle shop or Restaurant, I am always looking at the wines on display, oohhing and ahhing over particular labels. I have been super impressed by the wine labels coming from South America, the freedom shown in their design and implementation far exceeds some of the other new world countries.

With some of these designs in mind, and the underlying chess / pawn theme which has to run through all my wines, we went to work on developing an eye popping red label which reflects the amazing colour of the wine, an almost neon glow and the extinct / resurrection of the variety.

We wanted a standout package that was disruptive and which had a point of difference. The solution, a two-tone rigid metal label modelled on the masterbrand with a complementing back label printed directly to heavyweight premium glass and finished in red wax.

With the application of a metallic label and wax seal it also screams of contradiction. The old world use of a cork, is underpinned by science, with each of the NDtech corks scanned by an electronic nose, to detect any cork taint, so the wine is 100% guaranteed to be free of cork taint. So with that old world feel of sliding out a cork through neon red wax top finish, there is this eye popping metallic chess piece, representing the potential demise of varieties such as Maturana Tinta, and their ultimate resurrection in the Adelaide Hills.

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