Whenever I have doubts about a wine, I ask Maria, my wife to taste it. She never fails to come up with an insightful and original comment. Often I call for her help a few minutes before our guests come to our house, when we are busy with the last details. I beg her to try the wine and only after she has given it a green light I go ahead and serve it.

During the summer I started to note down which wines she really likes and why. I have decided to call them Stratocaster wines. The reason is that Maria is crazy about Mark Knopfler and his Fender Stratocaster, a double-cutaway electric guitar, with an extended top horn for balance while standing. Invented in 1954, it is both a great music instrument and a revered piece of industrial design. The wines that María thinks are great have the wide range of tones of the Stratocaster guitar and usually are also very well built.

Convento de San Francisco was the first Stratocaster wine we tasted this summer. This Ribera was so smooth and powerful that when you tasted it you could almost hear the trebly sound with a high top end and bell-like harmonics of the famous guitar. Next was El Puntido 2004, from the Sierra Cantabria artists, a serious wine that opens up slowly and displays a signature personality, like that of a guitar player who finds in his Strat the right frequencies to be heard above the other 20 band members. Finally, we discovered Montecastro, another fantastic Ribera, with a sultans of swing type of liveliness.

Different Strats wines taste different, but since this summer I have started to listen more carefully to my senses, just like Maria and Mark Knopfler do when they taste or play the guitar.