According to Jorge Riccitelli, the varieties with the best expression in Luján de Cuyo are Malbec, Bonarda, and Cabernet Sauvignon; and among whites, Torrontés and Chardonnay.
“Malbec stands out for its color, and the elegance and sweetness of its tannins; Bonarda, for its color and fruit; Cabernet Sauvignon, for its varietal character and fruit expression. Whereas in the case of whites, Torrontés presents exceptional aromas; and Chardonnay stands out for its expressiveness and ability to reflect the terroir concept,” explained Riccitelli.
The differential quality is not due to only one factor, but the combination of different factors. “We cannot say that only temperature or soil makes the difference, because expression comprises endless variables combined each other, enhancing their qualities”. As regards climate, the winemaker considers that in the case of red grapes, the most influential factors are medium temperature, wide temperature range, and high light intensity; whereas in whites, the wide temperature range is the aspect that most affect the fruit. “Soils also grant other features such as chemical composition, texture and depth.”
Man has been crucial to the development and potential of this region. “Firstly, we have to take water to vines and turn a desert into an oasis, and this was our grandparents’ challenge. Then we introduced drip irrigation system enabling us to explore other regions,” commented the expert. Then, he added: “previous generations managed to produce grapes thinking of the future, with balanced pruning and care that allow us to produce wines from 90-year old vineyards in some regions. Besides, we also learnt to manage the canopies, enabling us to produce high-quality products.”
All this is complemented with the work done at the winery to achieve high-quality wines. “From the vineyard to the glass, man was, and will be always involved in showing the great potential of our region.”
According to Riccitelli, Cabernet Franc is the varietal wine with the most promising future in the region.
Finally, the professional spotlighted the importance of “terroir”. “For us, soils, micro-climate, altitude, and vineyards, all together add some spice to the varietal expression of the variety.”