Mariano Garcia the legend of Spanish winemaking was in Mumbai on invitation from the Spanish embassy and I was glad to seek an opportunity to interact with him over 2 hours and also taste his wines at the Arola, J W Marriott, Mumbai.
Son of a winery worker, Mariano then a teenager got his shot to fame when he was pulled into a blind tasting by a winemaker as they were short of one taster. With no knowledge of wines he was the only one in the group who could identify two identical wines from the 20 they tasted and the rest is history. He became the Chief winemaker of the illustrious Vega Sicilia at the age of 24 and was with them until 1998, 3 decades to be precise. Mariano now runs his own, Bodegas Mauro in Tudela de Duero which he had established in 1978 and the more recent Bodegas Maurodos in the D.O of Toro.
Mauro is located west of the D.O of Ribera Del Duero in the province of Valladoid and is named after Mariano Garcia’s father Mauro. Located at an altitude of 760 metres it is subjected to a continental climate with cold winters and very warm summers. The temperature variation between day and night allows a long ripening season for the grape thus the increased intensity of aromas. They plant Tempranillo and syrah in a 55 Ha plot and bottle around 270k bottles a year including all labels. On asking if the D.O of Ribera Del Duero will extend its boundaries to be associated to Bodegas Mauro, Mariano with a smile on his face said, “Vega Sicilia was not a part of Ribera once, Ribera extended its boundaries just to get Vega Sicilia in and gain from the latter’s fame. We at Mauro are striving to offer consumer’s the best, we are happy to sell as a ‘Vino de la Tierra’ as long as the patrons are happy."
Mauro 2010 (Rs 9645):The flagship wine of the winery. A blend of 90% Tempranillo and Syrah, it was bottled in 2012 after aging in French and American barrels. This is a big chewy wine with structured tannins, great acidity, a spicy palate and a long finish. It’s big in alcohol like most Spanish wines and you can feel it.
Mauro VS 2003
Chosen from the best pockets of land this wine is meant for the long run. It was still lovely Ruby in colour and had held up so well. Leather and meat in the first nose and then was minerality and fruit. Again big in alcohol, a very robust wine with plenty of seasoned tannins with a lingering finish.
Located in the D.O of Toro, a region which faces an extreme continental climate, minimum rainfall and has abundant hours of sunshine. The DO was formed in 1987 but never got as much fame until Mariano Garcia opened his own in the region. Tinta de Toro is a strain of Tempranillo adapted to the climate of Toro, with berries slightly smaller and with thick skins with a potential to make age-worthy wines.
Prima 2010 (RS 4300):
A blend of 90 % Tinta de Toro and Grenache, this was a very big wine, one can actually smell the potency of alcohol of this one from a distance. The nose was of sour berries with a palate full of bracing acidity, smooth tannins and a good finish. The acidity in here is very surprising for the climate it comes from. I strong feel it to be a food wine.
San Roman 2009 (RS 9389):
This was my choice, or if I take the liberty to generalize, then most suited for the Indian palate.A 100% Tinta De Toro with 24 months in French and American Oak, this wine is a storm in the glass I must say. The initial whiff was full was meat, leather, foresty aromas underlying which were a lot of fruit scents couple with floral elements. The palate too confirmed the nose and complementing it were big chewy tannins.
It was a super evening with big names and big wines. The question remains, are you the consumer ready to experiment with your wines???