Take some of the most exciting (and expensive) wine regions new to the scene in the last 20 years — Ribera del Duero, Bierzo, Mendoza… they all have one thing in common. Altitude.
And there’s one priceless ingredient that turns the best of these wines from sharp to sublime.
Step forward Mauricio Lorca — one of Argentina’s most respected winemakers
Mauricio was a bit of a winemaking prodigy from the start — he spent his first four years at Catena, learning from the founding fathers of Argentine wine — Nicolas Catena, Paul Hobbs and José Galante. He then became head winemaker of Luigi Bosca at the ripe old age of 24.
Part of his experience was travelling around the world’s best vineyards, and each time Mauricio came home to Mendoza, he was more and more convinced it could make wines right up there with the world’s best.
So when he started his own business in 2003, he was determined to make wines that fulfilled Mendoza’s potential.
I’ve worked with Mauricio for 10 years — through highs and lows
Working together at Naked Wines in the UK we’ve experienced every high and low possible… from extreme and catastrophic weather events, to running a business in the most corrupt and hot-headed political climate imaginable.
And then there’s Argentina… ☺
But we got there in the end, and 40% of his sales now go to Naked. Thanks to this support down the years, he’s been able to buy quality vineyards all over Mendoza, install expensive hail-protection netting, and upgrade his winery to state-of-the-art.
It took a visit to Mauricio in 2018 to see the magic of the place
His immaculate, remote Los Arboles vineyard would literally take your breath away. It’s 1,250m above sea level, the air is cool and crisp, and the dramatic Andes mountains stretch as far as the eye can see.
It made perfect sense when Mauricio told me what made the place so special for making wine:
- Sunshine — the intensity of sunlight up here ripens the grapes with deep flavour and colour
- Water — Mendoza is basically a desert (it’s on the same latitude as the Sahara) with poor soils and very little rainfall. So Mauricio can control exactly how much water the vines need and when, irrigating them with melted snow from the Andes
- Day/night temperatures — While the days are hot, the temperatures drop to very cold at night, which extends the ripening season, and gives the grapes freshness, complexity and balance.
But with any great wines made from elevated vineyards, they need time
As his business has grown over the years, Mauricio’s slowly been able to build up a library of reserve wines.
With the magic ingredient that shows Mendoza at its absolute best — time.
It’s like the difference between a cheap and cheerful steak, and an expensive, dry-aged, prime cut of beef — it goes from fresh and chewy to mellow, rich and savoury. (Ok now I’m hungry).
Because I helped Mauricio grow his business, he’s now helping me grow mine
When I called up Mauricio to tell him about WineSpark, he knew just the wines to reach for. And he’s repaying the favour by giving me access to them at ridiculous prices.
The real winner in all of this is Irish wine drinkers. Give WineSpark a try today.