As we were staying around Toledo, we got to meet the people behind the fantastic Bodegas Mas Que Vinos, multi-award winning winery based in Castilla la Mancha. If many people in the wine World start looking away when they hear about this "table wine" part of Spain, by the way largest vineyard in the World, they should definitely give a chance to the MQV wines!
Regarding Castilla la Mancha, grapes and terroirs don't make bad wines, bad people make bad wine! In this case, lovely knowledgeable passionate people showed us how great their wines could be! Below is the chat we had with Gonzalo Rodriguez at MQV, on a fantastic sunny day, walking and driving through the fields to finish in beauty, overlooking the vineyard with a full tasting of the range!
Gonzalo Rodriguez offered us to park overnight at the Bodega, here's breakfast time!
THE PROJECT: Bodegas Mas Que Vinos (meaning “more than wines”) is not just a winery. It is the project of 3 oenologists with different career paths, in a place with great History of wine but very little fame: Castilla la Mancha. Winning awards and medals through the years, you have earned a reputation for high-quality wines. Could you explain to our readers what is “Mas Que Vinos”, your history and the people behind it?
G.R: More than anything, Mas Que Vinos is a dream that started to come true in the year 1999, a dream whose biggest challenge has been to produce quality-driven wines with their very own character in the region around Toledo, where we belong. From day one, our goal has been to bring ancient autochthonous varietals back under the spotlights, converting ourselves into pioneers of authentic regional wines.
THE GRAPES: With you, we have discovered forgotten grapes like Malvar, we’ve tried high-quality wines made of Airen (although most wine books tell you that such a thing doesn’t exist), we’ve sampled Garnacha or Cencibel (Tempranillo) wines with plenty of character… What are the indigenous grapes planted in your vineyards and what do they bring to your wines?
G.R: Because of the extreme climate of our land, the autochthonous varietals we have to play with have to be resistant to brutal changes in temperature. Judging by how little it rains around here, it’s unbelievable to see how vines like Malvar or Airen can stand a 35-Celsius-degree heat in most days with drought issues, yet managing to produce wines that are so fresh, subtle & appealing.
The most well-suited red grapes are Cencibel (aka Tempranillo) & Garnacha, from a clone that we have selected ourselves. Both react in such an extraordinary noble way with wines that have managed to stand out among the other reds of Spain, with a touch of our own personality.
THE LAND: With soils that are rich in minerals and very vigorous vines, the land of Castilla la Mancha has earned its reputation more on quantity than quality. At MQV (Mas Que Vinos), you have changed the traditional local approach of winemaking in order to focus on quality. Could you describe your land and its potential, knowing that Castilla la Mancha is no less than the World’s largest vineyard!
G.R: We have planted our vineyards in distinct soils, always looking for peculiar differences, focusing on poor soils, some of which gypsum-based for our Malvar for instance.
Today, we can say that the main reason why our brand Mas Que Vinos managed to get wines with great personality is the terroir, which in itself is quite a unique thing for a region where these virtues aren’t commonly appreciated. Further than this, we do not believe in the existence of a notion of terroir without autochthonous microbiology, that’s why we only use indigenous yeasts from our vines.
THE WINES: It’s extremely hard for consumers to purchase a good bottle of wine that they haven’t heard about or don’t know the production area well. Many times, they keep buying wines from bigger, more well-known appellations when smaller regions could be a better fit. In your case, could you please describe the style of your wines and perhaps tell us if they are more intended for an aperitif or for having with food?
G.R: The Ercavio “family” (Ercavio Blanco Airén, Ercavio Rosado, Ercavio Tempranillo Jove, Ercavio Tempranillo Roble y Ercavio Selección Limitada) is a range of aperitive wines that can, of course, be also paired with food. They are wines with great freshness and long-lasting finish. Perfect on all occasions.
Our more personal wines (La Malvar de MQV, El Señorito, Garnacha de la Madre, La Plazuela, La Meseta, 31 Noviembre, La Buena Vid, Perlas de Otoño) really are exceptional wines, whether it is for the age of the vines, the varietals we use or the care they receive in the making process. They are incredible wines that one can enjoy with a simple tasting, even without food. They are thought for wine-lovers with curiosity who want to try something new and different. All of these wines of course, can also be paired with food.
THE TRICKY QUESTION: We always love to ask this question last: what would be your favourite wine in the World outside of your own? And in your range?
A vineyard in the Rhine Valley, Germany
G.R: My favourite wine could be a white wine from the Rhine river that I am yet to try.
Out of our own wines, my favourite one is La Plazuela because it is in 2001 that we discovered how great was what we had in our hands, a potential no one had ever discovered in this region, with all of its History and the quantity of grapes that had been turned into wine!
Here are a couple of videos (in Spanish) to learn more about the varietals of Castilla la Mancha with Gonzalo Rodriguez
To read the original interview (in Spanish), please click here.