Half a century has passed since José Pariente brought his artisanal touch to working with the Verdejo grapes of Spain’s Rueda appellation, crafting a white wine of exceptional quality.
It was José Pariente’s meticulous approach to viticulture and his faith in the region’s terroir that ensured his wine would be an excellent representation of the Verdejo variety. Working in the 1960s, Pariente made everything by hand, at home.
His energy and passion inspired his daughter, Victoria Pariente, to take up winemaking. Sadly, her father died in 1997, one year before she began production of the José Pariente Verdejo in 1998. His vision was fulfilled, however, because the wine was instantly well received, and José Pariente Verdejo became a top Spanish wine within a decade. It wasn’t always easy, as Victoria, one of the first successful winemaking women in Spain, can attest. “This is ‘man’s work’,” she would often hear — from colleagues who hadn’t yet realized they were dealing with a woman. But much as the vines of Rueda’s stony vineyards and harsh, continental climate do, she persisted.
In 2008, Victoria opened the doors to a new production facility between Rueda and La Seca. Offering spectacular views over the region, it’s a modern facility that uses innovative techniques to produce white wines of great elegance, freshness and complexity.
The family has grown, but every member remains true to their roots. Victoria’s husband, Ignacio Prieto, oversees the numbers as director of finance. Their daughter, Martina Prieto Pariente, is the sales director and technical winemaker, following the passion and tradition of her winemaking mother. And son Ignacio Prieto Pariente is looking to the future and new markets as the export manager.
The wine list has expanded as well, with three Verdejo offerings and two Sauvignon Blanc. José Pariente Varietal Verdejo remains the flagship of the house, expressing the elegant crispness of the Verdejo variety. José Pariente Barrel-Fermented is produced with grapes from old Verdejo vines and fermented in French oak barrels to produce a remarkably nuanced wine. José Pariente Special Cuvée makes use of innovative, oval concrete-clay tanks, resulting in a complex wine of impressive smoothness and silky texture, and a minerality not previously found in a Verdejo.
José Pariente Varietal Sauvignon Blanc is a clean, cool and distinguished wine with a wide range of vegetal, tropical fruit and mineral notes. And José Pariente Apasionado is a sweet wine with a freshness that both surprises and impresses.
Today, just barely a decade and a half after José Pariente Verdejo’s first bottling, José Pariente wines can be found in more than 30 countries. It can be said that it’s the passion and energy of José Pariente that has provided the inspiration, but it’s Victoria – who has poured her heart and soul into the production of the wine and creation of the winery – who is to credit for the wines’ tremendous success.
What’s next? “Vineyard, winery, world: a story of three generations,” they like to say at José Pariente. Faith in their soil, a sincere passion for winemaking, and a deep respect for their craft, they make high-quality wine they are proud of — something this next generation of Parientes is happy to share with the world.
Bodegas José Pariente