The superb Spanish reds from bodega Mauro are among the wines that have most impressed me this year. From near the Ribera del Duero, Mauro doesn't fit any of the conventional classic regional stereotypes, so it is labelled Vino de Mesa de Castilla y Leon. Its pedigree derives from its low-yielding vines and the care manifested by Mariano Garcia, the man widely credited with bringing Vega Sicilia into the modern era.
Class is the first word that comes to mind as you approach the 2001 Mauro Crianza (around £20), a tempranillo-based red with a dollop of syrah. Rich and invitingly scented, promising red-berry fruit and liquorice spice, it delivers a high quality of mulberry- and damson-like richness every bit as fresh and sumptuous as the nose suggests. Polished by a light touch of French and American oak to enhance complexity, the wine is drinkable now with a good five to seven years of life in its bones.
Its big brother, the 1996 Mauro Vendimia Seleccionada (around £50), is a voluptuous Spanish red made from 97 per cent tempranillo and 3 per cent garnacha, combining a modern approach to wine in the youthful richness of cherry- and mulberry-like fruit with a traditional, stylish frame of oak. Softened into shape by 24 months in the barrel and five years in the bottle, the result is a succulent evolution of tannins in an astonishingly youthful, modern Spanish red.
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