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Meet Mary Stanley: Owner of The Turtle Restaurant

26 March

Name: Mary Stanley

Restaurant Name and City: The Turtle Restaurant, Brownwood, Texas

Your Role: I am the owner, wine buyer, pastry and gelato chef, book keeper and emergency bottle washer.

What do you love about working with wine: Taste! and the fact that you can never know all there is to know. I am always learning about history, geology, geography and viniculture. Even if you think you know a grape, it changes over time and location.

What do you love about Rioja: What I love about Rioja is the value and the direction the wine control board, the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja, gives the consumer with the classification labels. It makes it so easy to for our customers to understand Rioja and find the flavor profile they want. And did I say “Taste!” We partnered with Rioja over a year ago. Our customers immediately understood the system and toasted to the taste. We have an OZ Bar wine dispenser, we keep several Rioja’s on tap at all times for our "by the glass" program and we kept all of the wines we brought in for our promotion in the library. I attribute our customer acceptance to the taste and the value of Rioja.

What’s your favorite current wine trend: My favorite wine trend is that Texas wine growers have discovered that Spanish and Mediterranean grapes are more appropriate for our terroir and climate. The interest in tempranillo in particular feeds local interest in Rioja wines. I think that Rioja sets the standard for what Texans are attempting to achieve. Because we aren’t growing enough grapes for our state’s consumption there is no need to worry about competition between the two regions other than competing to be the best they can both become, which is a good thing!

What’s your most memorable wine moment: January, I was in Brescia, Italy, taking a culinary course with Manuelina Culinary at CAST Alimenti. Our class went to dinner at teacher and chef, Beppe Maffioli’s restaurant Carlo Magno in Collebeato, Italy. The premises had been a way station and stable built in 1554, now beautifully restored and adapted to the restaurant. After teaching all day at CAST Alimenti, Chef Maffioli prepared a private degustation menu for us paired with his wines. I didn’t get to see the bottle label but the first red had a very distinctive violet note. I had been trying to get that note in gelato recently so it kind of hit me in the face and said, “Attention! Violet!” I had never tasted violet in wine before. I felt it would have taken away from the moment to inquire about the wine so I don’t know what it was, but I'll always remember it. This reminds me to write Chef. Anyway, that violet note has been calling out to me for months, nagging.