As the owner/winemaker at Familia Mayol, Matias Mayol comes from a family that is deeply rooted to the vineyard. In the early 1900′s, his grandfather left his vineyards in Spain for Mendoza, where the family settled, planted grapes and lived on the land.
In the vineyard, Matias practices sustainable farming, turning the vineyards organic, one vineyard at a time. ”Mendoza has dry conditions,” says Matias, so he employs “sulfur two times a year to prevent fungus, only if it’s needed. I work a lot with leaf removal, so the clusters are completely exposed to sunlight and wind…the skins of the grapes get thicker, increasing the polyphenols. We have huge mountain ranges that stop the Pacific Ocean influence…summer rains are short and scattered. Most of the rain falls in winter…it’s like a grape’s paradise.”
Because most Argentine wines tend to be lower in acidity, Matias focuses most of his attention to the vineyard. Leaf pulling yields higher acidity, he says, which enables better food pairings. He employs drip irrigation and some of his vines have their original rootstock.
At Familia Mayol, the grapes are hand harvested and destemmed without crushing. Matias starts with natural yeasts and after the fermentation picks up, he adds selected yeasts because the sugar is so high, he wants to ensure that the fermentation finishes.
“For our higher end wines, Cuatro Primos, Pircas, Montuiri, I go for the terroir,” says Matias. ”If I have them [the wine] in the bottle, and I don’t think they’re worth their value, I won’t sell them. I’d rather keep them and sell at a discounted price in the winery, and not export. Quality is our business.”