Sunday, 3 December 2017

Table Wine Bodegas: Vinifícate SL (AKA Mahara Viticultores)

Dynamic brothers Miguel and José Gómez Lucas were born into a family in San Fernando which had no connections to the wine trade and they came into it by accident. Miguel was studying at the faculty of chemistry at Cádiz University, soon to be followed by José, when they were given a few days of introduction to oenology. It interested them so much they later gained degrees in it and went to work in various bodegas both in Spain and abroad. In 2009 Miguel was invited to work on a new organic wine project in Zahara de la Sierra which came up with the wine Fine Tempo (QV).

Miguel (L) and Jose Gomez Lucas with a tinaja

The brothers had long believed that Cádiz had the potential to produce great wines from its indigenous grape varieties, and that became the focus of their work. In 2011 they came across the Calderín del Obispo vineyard in the pago Balbaína with Tintilla grapes for sale and they decided to make their own wine. That first year they bought 1,500 kilos, buying a little more each year, experimenting all the time with the vinification, and then began buying Palomino in Chiclana in 2015. Soon they were renting vineyards and applying biodynamic and permaculture principles, doing everything as ecologically as possible, as healthy vines give better grapes which better express themselves, the climate and albariza soils of the area. They also only use natural local yeast.

Ladybird is proof of a healthy old vine

Their first release was 1,000 bottles of Mahara, made from Tintilla. They had been experimenting with oak barrels for maturation, but felt the oak flavours masked the fresh character of the Tintilla, and so they experimented with hand-made amphorae, and liked the results, buying many more since. The next wine was Amorro, a red blend of Tintilla, Tempranillo and Palomino, and then followed an Amorro white, 100% Palomino. Currently they are working on sparkling wine made by the metodo ancestral: fermented half in tank and half in bottle.

All hands on deck for the grape sorting in the new bodega

In 2017 they finally inaugurated their own bodega, allowing them to move out of the house! And they are now buying grapes from a vineyard in Sanlúcar. Sales have grown substantially to some 30,000 bottles, helped by a good Parker score, and the wines are now exported to the USA, Sweden and Britain, with France and Canada coming soon. The brothers want to keep things sensible however, and to grow the business only as far as quality will allow.

The new bodega is in the Fadricas industrial estate in San Fernando

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