Bodegas Mazuela: wild heart

Producer Jesús Manuel García sources grapes from his family vineyards. Stelvio, red and white, are his flagship wines.

Twenty kilometres of ascent, 48 hairpin bends to reach a summit at 2,757 metres elevation. This is the Stelvio pass, the legendary alpine peak of the Giro d'Italia, first crowned by cyclist Fausto Coppi in 1953. Jesús Manuel García (Bodegas Mazuela) remembers vividly what it meant to him, as a passionate amateur cyclist, to reach the legendary "Coppi summit". This personal achievement inspired him a few years ago to launch a small wine business with his family and his own vineyards and to name his flagship wine Stelvio. Manuel García is by no means a stranger to the business of wine in Rioja. He transformed the Uruñuela cooperative with the introduction of a pioneering vineyard selection and parceling policy, and later launched the new Marqués de Terán winery, where he worked well over a decade. He developed a number of R&D projects there, one of them being the first winery in the world to use geothermal energy for winemaking and ageing.

Jesús Manuel García produces around 300,000 kg of grapes in his family vineyards in Hormilla, although at present he only makes wine from a fraction of them. "This is a difficult business, so I knew that we would start with a micro-project, but always keeping in mind the possibility of expanding using our own grapes," he explains. Stelvio Tinto, power and elegance, and Stelvio Blanco, a fruit-driven stunner made from Malvasía and Sauvignon Blanc, are his main cuvées. He recently launched Liante, a wine with a higher turnover, and Corazón Indomable, an outrageously good destemmed young wine, along with a wonderful rosé and a nod to the recent lockdown, Todo va a salir bien (Everything is going to be fine), with which Mazuela is gradually growing. La Hoya de Mazuela Reserva is his top wine, an old vineyard selection which is in the process of being classified as Viñedo Singular.

Jesús Manuel García helps in the development of wine tourism in Cenicero with the recovery of abandoned cellars. This town on the banks of the Ebro river has 285 catalogued ancient underground cellars where wines were made in the 15th century in ashlar stone and concrete presses. This artisanal and traditional process is nowadays applied by Jesús Manuel García in his winery (concrete tanks) equipped with 21st century technology.

Mazuela organises tours of the cellar and the winery, including visits specially designed for families with children, who can enjoy fun wine-related activities (painting labels and barrels, corking...), while their parents immerse themselves in the culture of wine. Parents and children can interact at all times during the visit.