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Mara Grapes

Mara is a new age hybrid grape which was created in the United Kingdom using the two grape varieties Gamay and Reinchensteiner.

Mara is actually created by crossing the above mentioned two grape varieties to create a red wine grape variant which ripens early and offers a good resistance to fungal infections.

Mara was created in the year 1970 at the Caudoz research centre in Pully, near Lausanne, Switzerland and originally named Pully C 41, only to be renamed to Mara before it was released to the outside world.

Wine grape varieties

This grape was released in the year 1990 and has often been compared to its cousins Gamaret and Gamanoir.

Origin of Mara grape Variant

Mara was created in in a research centre at Pully, an eastern suburb of Lausanne that is now a part of federal Agroscope Changins’ Wädenswil research group of Switzerland.

This grape variant was created by Andre Jacquinet, the breeder who was also involved in the creation of Diolinoir (made from Robin Noir and Pinot Noir) and sister varieties of Gamaret (called as Pully B-13) and Gamanoir (called as Pully B-28)

Regions where Mara grape variants are cultivated

Mara grapes are often found in various parts of Switzerland with large concentrations of grapes cultivated in Vaud and Valais, to the southwest of Switzerland.

This plant is also cultivated in small numbers in regions of Germany, United Kingdom (more majorly in England), Italy, Canada and United States.

Characteristics of Mara grape variant

Mara grape variety is quite similar to its distant relative Pinot Noir, though it differs from Pinot Noir with respect to some of the frailties it has.

Mara grapes tend to ripen early, while giving a high yield and being resistant to most of the fungal diseases like oidium and peronospora.

Mara grapes also lack the acidity which Pinot Noir exhibits and it needs to be grown in the cooler climes of say France or Germany, like its cousins Gamaret and Gamanoir.

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In cooler climates, the grapes ripen a little slowly and steadily without losing its acidic content, as much as it would have otherwise.

In warmer climates or seasons, this grape variant produces wines which are often very strong and fruit driven, when it comes to the aroma, but lacks the necessary tannin and the acid structure to back the strong aromas on display.

In case of Mara, the vines have branches which are open ended, fluffy, lined with leaves, which, when young, appear crimson and yellow and have a hairy texture.

These leaves in their adulthood become small, quinquelobées and circular almost in the form of the letter ‘U’, having a light green colour. The blade appears lined with straight and short teeth, with little blisters on it.

Characteristics of Mara Wines

Wines made from Mara grapes typically have moderate tannin content, a robust acid structure, is full bodied and displays aromas of sweet spice, cherries and blackberries.

Mara grapes produce wines having a splendid and a smooth structure. Its aromatics tend to give a darker, brooding end on the fruit spectrum scale, dotted with hints of savoury spice.

This variant is often blended with other varieties of wine which give a light, fruity structure with medium tannin content to balance its darker serious notes of fruits with high tannin content, to round off the wine giving it a smooth structure.

As far as alcohol content is concerned, this wine contains around 13 percent alcohol.

Flavours and Aromas of Mara Wines

Mara grapes tend to give a strong flavour of fruits like blackberries, red cherries and traces of blueberries.

As far as spices and earth flavours are concerned, it gives a strong flavour of black pepper and saffron spice. As a result of this, Mara grape wines have higher notes of intense fruit driven aromas.

Food pairings with Mara wines

This wine goes well with English, American, Italian and French cuisine.

It tastes excellent with soft cheeses and dishes like Milanese style risotto, Tea smoked barbequed vegetables, Barbeque ramen, Raclette cheese with cornichons and roasted potatoes, pulled vegetable rolls, vegetarian chili, okra and rice stew and seared vegetables.

This wines blends perfectly with spicy foods and a host of hot curries.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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