Like many things at MAS, our wines are the product of a long process of selection, research, trial and error, and lots of tasting, tasting, tasting. We're proud of how our lists has developed over 6 years and mostly because of our increasing understanding and connection to the farmers, viñeros, and viñeras of España.
When I drink wine first I think of the grape itself as a fruit. Having grown up with two grape arbors in our backyard, a Concord and a Scuppernong, I was always treated to surreptitious sips of sugary, raisin wine from my Grandmother's pantry. It was a heady experience walking into the curtained room, smelling the fermenting must behind cheesecloth in big apothecary glass jars, and later I would find was not unlike the feel of a very old cellar in Catalunya where old barricas of Macabeo were slowly oxidizing and oozing out of the wood. I love the feeling of sensory memories, especially los recuerdos de niñez of a child in a grandmother's kitchen.
When I think of wine I invariably think of food, and, as modern science has discovered, wine is a powerful and beneficial dietary supplement. Wine is also history, as a winemaker from Priorato reminded me. In every glass there exists a record of climate, culture, effort, inspiration, and innovation. As individual and unique as each vintage and village is, they represent an interpretation of the combined elements presented to the winemakers at that time. Many will tell you that they only want to make the best wine possible with the grapes they have. This philosophy reminds me of Louis Kahn's dictum about "letting a brick be a brick", but grapes are not bricks and both have an incredible degree of plasticity when it comes to creating results. Without pressing the point too finely, we like winemakers who explore their craft and express their intellect and appreciation for it and it's tradition through the end product. Watching Josep Marie Huguet hand-pick clusters in his Can Feixas vineyard in Penedes,under the shadow of the great Montserrat, then sorting them again on long tables allowing their juices to "free-run" is watching a craftsman hone his creation, finding flaws, removing them, reducing and polishing it until it glows. Much like film directors we will follow a winemaker's career and projects from young and inexperienced to older and more mature, appreciating the trajectory and scope of accomplishment but understanding that it is always a work in progress. In this way we view winemakers as we do cooks that develop a vernacular from a common vocabulary, then refine and distill from that core and tradicion.
Ultimately we are led back to the food and it's symbiosis with wine, a complimentarity and balancing act that is both profound and pleasurable and so organically linked that it should be effortless in it's enjoyment, not forced or so ephemeral as to be unapproachable. Our first goal at MAS is to give you a selection that tastes good. "If it grows together it goes together" is a good guide to keep in mind when ordering Spanish cuisine with Spanish wines. There are no bad choices only varying degrees of compliment. The tang of our hearth-baked breads is balanced by the salty-sweetness of cured jamon, and it in turn is balanced by the buttery richness of aged Manchego cheese which when exposed to a tempranillo wine finds bliss. It's hard to find a more perfect quartet.
Value is another prime directive for selecting our wines and I think we offer incredible values especially in hard-to-find, small-batch, old-vine and traditional biodynamic or organic wines. Just like the locavore movement that's heating up again in America which emphasizes quality over quantity, process above endless duplication, lots of young winemakers, representing generations of tradicion and culture in España, are experiencing a renacimiento in winemaking where less is more, land stewardship more important than bulk and industrial operations, and the joy of creating a truly inspired creation that you share is valued over self-promotion and celebrity. Come join us for a glass of memories, a taste of history, a ritual of celebration with some delicious food and good company. Buen Provecho. Tomas