María Barúa has been part of LAN’s team since 2002. She discovered a passion for wine through her father who was a great wine lover and taught her to appreciate the great classics of Rioja. They would always share the ceremony of choosing the wine to serve with the Sunday lunch together. After studying Chemistry and Enology, María took part in research projects relating to the colour of Riojan red wines and how they change through barrel ageing.
Paying attention to even the smallest details to create great wines
If you could sum up Maria’s work in two words, they would be scrutiny and care. She takes care over every little detail, and each decision she makes is based on research and innovation: applied to each and every parcel, tank, barrel, cork, and so on… This process allows her to make wines that offer assured quality year after year, minimising the “vintage factor” and given them a recognisable and unique character.
“We always try to ensure that our wines represent the vineyards and parcels that they come from. A wine is a reflection of the vineyard and we endeavour to make wines that are true to their origin. We base our work on the upmost respect for the potential of each variety, parcel and source. Barrel ageing should be – and is – carried out with respect for the grape variety and terroir, allowing them to express themselves fully, adding balance and complexity.”
The small details make all the difference
Her attention to detail starts in the vineyard, both in Viña Lanciano and the different parcels owned by long-standing suppliers to the winery. Throughout the year, Maria and her team monitor the evolution of the vines. “Over the years, you get to know the vineyard better and can get the best out of each parcel.” These checks become more exhaustive in August, when the ripening process of the grape is examined on a parcel-by-parcel basis, to determine the optimum moment for harvest.
This same care is applied to the selection of oak for ageing the wine, with very high standards in terms of quality. Here, the goal is for the barrel to respect and enhance the wine’s natural qualities. “We age each parcel separately, making sure the type of oak, level of toast and period of time in oak is tailored to get the best out of each wine… always respecting the original terroir.”
Technical Director since 2007, some of LAN’s most special and unique wines have been born under her guidance, such as D-12, the selection of tank number 12, or more recently, LAN Xtrème, the wine that shows LAN’s commitment to a more sustainable future and embodies this winemaker’s philosophy of respect for the land. And it is specifically this land of Rioja, where Maria loves to spend her free time with her family, enjoying nature on walks that cover all corners of the Riojan countryside.