Heroic Viticulture

If you have been an Opimian Member for any time at all, the name Mauricio Lorca will be familiar to you. 


We have been enjoying Maurico Lorca‘s fine wines from the Uco Valley in Mendoza for many years. He even visited us in Canada a few years ago and met many of us face to face. 


In 2017, Mauricio, an avid mountain biker who is always up for a challenge, decided to ride across northern Spain on the famous Camino de Santiago. During this nine-day journey, he and his wife Brenda fell in love with the winemaking region of Ribeira Sacra. It was not just the breathtakingly beautiful views and the outstanding gastronomy that inspired Mauricio; he was captivated by the great lengths required to grow grapes on such extreme terrain. 


In fact, tending a vineyard in Ribeira Sacra is so difficult that the CERVIM, Centre for Research, Environmental Sustainability and Advancement of Mountain Viticulture, have given grape growing here an official term: “heroic viticulture.” With slopes up to 70°, the vineyards are carved into the hilly topography. Each narrow terrace is the width of two to three rows, making mechanization impossible. Grapes are not only hand-harvested here; they also must be carried down the bluff bucket by bucket. 


The seed had been planted, and Mauricio started to visualize himself making wine in this fascinating region. In 2019, Mauricio and Brenda, along with two partners, acquired the 600-year-old estate Casa de Outeiro in Ribeira Sacra’s sub-zone Quiroga-Bibei. 


The wines from the Casa de Outeiro portfolio provide an opportunity to experience new varieties. Treixadura (trey-sha-dura) is a crisp citrusy white wine, which makes an interesting alternative to Pinot Gris or Viognier, while Godello (go-day-o) is reminiscent of a fruity Chardonnay or refreshing Chenin Blanc. According to Mauricio, the maritime-influenced cool climate and remarkable swing from daytime to nighttime temperatures allow the grapes to ripen slowly, accumulating maximum flavour while maintaining their mouth-watering acidity. He recommends enjoying his white wines alongside a plate of grilled pulpo (octopus), vieiras (scallops) or steamed mejillones (mussels). Mencía (men-thee-a), a black grape, produces wines with a red and green flavour profile that can be compared to a fresh Cabernet Franc or Carmenère. Through blending parcels grown in vineyards with different aspects, Mauricio’s wines offer layers of nuance and complexity. 


Thanks to our long-standing relationship with Mauricio, Opimian Members will have exclusive access to experience the delicious wines from Mauricio’s first Spanish vintage.