The inspiration for the winery started in 2008, with Marta Castrillo and César Maté who had been successfully making a limited production wine (Primordium ~3000 bottles) from their vineyard, Gumiel de Mercado (25Ha).
Faced with a region that has over 302 wineries, producing over 2000 brands of wine, from mostly (85%) machine-harvested vineyards collected in bulk, Marta and César felt it was vital to differentiate themselves from this reality by pursuing three guiding principles: Prime Location, Biodiversity, and Minimal Intervention.
The vineyards are located in the northernmost reaches of the DO, at an altitude above 900m (the average altitude in R.D. is 800m), which together with unique edaphological characteristics define the terroir, favour the health of the vines, and protect them from pests and diseases. They practice ecological viticulture, by promoting the life of microorganisms that live in the soil. The presence of animal species such as mammals, reptiles, insects and birds is encouraged by placing nests and insect hotels , and building dry stone walls. Hillsides have been reforested and non-crop areas re-planted with native plant species. By creating a balanced ecosystem, they experience a 95% reduction in the attack of pests and diseases that attack vines in conventional agriculture.
Some vineyards are managed organically, while others follow biodynamic methods. Soil compaction is avoided (horse-drawn implements are used instead of tractors), as is the use of biocides or chemical fertilizers. While the average yield for the region is 5,400 kg/Ha (and the maximum can actually be closer to 7,000 kg/Ha), the maximum yield at Bodegas Marta Maté is 3,500 kg/Ha.
Working mainly with Tinto Fino grapes, that are hand-harvested and collected in traditional (smaller) 12kg baskets; the aim is to preserve the physical qualities and expression of the grapes and the vineyards they come from. As grapes enter the winery they are carefully sorted and only those that reach optimal quality pass. The crushed grapes flow by gravity into 10,000 litre conical tanks to concentrate the natural flavours of the grapes. Fermentation uses indigenous yeasts, and with a very low and controlled addition of sulphur dioxide (<50 mg/L). Malolactic fermentation and maturation takes place in 225 litre, French-oak barrique, 600 litre, American-oak barrels, as well as large 2,300 litre oak casks, in an underground cellar, where the temperature is easily controlled and stable.
The winery is in Tubilla del Lagos (Burgos). The name of the village derives from the word “toba”, which refers to the white stones found in the surrounding soils. The village, dating back to the 9th century, has a long tradition of viticulture and still has many cellars preserved under the streets.