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Master Winemakers Top 100: Mauricio Lorca

Mauricio Lorca, owner and winemaker at Bodega Foster Lorca, features as one of our top winemakers in this year’s Master Winemaker 100 guide. He tells db about the difficult Mendoza climate, thinking in the long term and putting aside ego.

Born in Rivadavia, Mauricio Lorca has had a close connection to the land since he was a child. He studied medicine until the discovery of a passion for oenology caused him to shift direction. Today Lorca considers the quality of his wines to be inextricably linked to listening to the land, an outlook that goes hand-in-hand with a strong sustainable ethos. Innovation is also a major focus here, from Foster Lorca’s underwater cellar to a digital en primeur programme using NFTs, which offer customers benefits while they wait for their wine to be delivered.

His Enrique Foster Firmado 2019 and Mauricio Lorca Grandes Varietales Malbec 2019 both won Master medals at the Global Malbec Masters 2023.

Describe your winemaking approach in no more than three words.

Innovation, quality, sustainability.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

To visit the vineyards, determine the harvest point and see the final result of the effort.

Which aspect of the job keeps you awake at night?

The climate: we always struggle to have good years. In Mendoza, hail and frost always keep us awake.

What’s your go-to drink at the end of a long day?

Lots of water, to stay hydrated. Eventually, some beer or fresh, low-alcohol white or rosé wines seem like a good way to end the day.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Look at life in the long term; think about projects to overcome the short term. Overcome the vicissitudes of the short term by thinking that there is a goal beyond that we have to reach and aim for.

What was your greatest winemaking mistake?

To get the timing wrong on projects. We came out at a very early time with wines without wood, when the market expected wines with wood. It was very difficult to deal with from a commercial point of view.

What’s the most important winemaking lesson you’ve learned so far?

That winemakers have to work for consumers, not for our personal ego or for our critics. Interpreting their tastes is one of the great challenges of my role.

Which figure outside the world of wine inspires you?

Martín Varsavsky, the Argentine global entrepreneur.

Where would your fantasy vineyard be?

I already have it. It was a challenge to buy, but we now have Los Arboles vineyard in the Uco Valley. It was an unlikely dream to come true and we achieved it. A dream come true.

If you weren’t a winemaker, what would you be doing and why?

Initially I was going to be a doctor; it seemed a great career to work in. But today it has no comparison with what I do. It’s hard for me to imagine my day without being a winemaker. I don’t find many tasks that really motivate me the way winemaking motivates me.

What’s the most memorable food match you’ve had with one of your wines?

It was at a tasting in which I participated in England, with our importer Laurie Webster, at Paris House on the Woburn Estate. We tasted various varietals of wine, specifically native Argentine wines. That night was unforgettable. A highlight was brown crab “baklava”, avocado ice cream and bisque jelly with Recoleta Pedro Giménez Blanco 2022.

What role does sustainability have to play in a Master-winning wine?

Above all, it is super-important because it makes no sense to have prizes against nature, against all our values. It is from the natural side, the commitment to people, the teamwork that we build our wines. Without all that being sustainable implies, beyond caring for the environment, there would be no wines to award.

Which type of wine do you drink most regularly?

In my daily life I am drinking a lot of white and rosé wines, and rather young reds.

Your home is on fire: which bottle do you save?

A Mauricio Lorca Inspirado Blend from 2008, because it was my first vintage and the wine was extraordinary.

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