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“When consumers distinguish how Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon express in Cafayate, the other varietals will be more appreciated”

July 4, 2014 by Claudia Ortiz | in News, Opinions

Alejandro Pepa, winemaker of El Esteco winery, shares in this article how the regional features of the north of Argentina define its wines and which are the best-performing varieties and regions.

What are the varieties achieving the best expression in the north of Argentina?

Both Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon express incredibly in Cafayate. Moreover, Tannat, a variety “less known” by Argentinians, enables us to make delicious wines. As regards whites, Torrontés obviously offers an amazing expression, allowing us to reach really high-end wines.

What are the main features of these varieties in the region?

A greater concentration of tannins and color. They are very powerful wines, with full body and aging potential. In the particular case of Torrontés, it displays intensity of colors, delicate, intense and citrus aromas; on the palate, it offers a balanced acidity and sweet heart, with an incredible freshness.

What are the most influential climatic factors in these varieties?

Cafayate’s climate is arid and dry, with an average wide temperature range between 65° and 68° F, reflected in the chilly mornings, mild afternoons, and cold nights.

The combination of these factors during the last ripening period of grapes causes a slow, continuous, and healthy ripening, leading to a perfect ration of pulp and skin, as well as a concentration of flavors and aromas in our wines.

As regards the differential quality achieved, is it influenced by soil characteristics? Which are the most influential soil factors in these varieties?

Our estates in Cafayate are located inside an alluvial cone facing east, thus obtaining a more sunlight during mornings. The mineral components of these soils have influence over grapevines, granting unique properties and a controlled growth, and leading obviously to an excellent quality. Before planting the vines, we study the soil and analyze the orientation.

In your opinion, which are the promising varietal wines in this region?

When consumers distinguish how varieties like Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon express in Cafayate, the other varietals are increasingly appreciated.

Where do you think there are differential micro-zones within the region? What are their characteristics and how do they express in the wines?

Beyond certain characteristics present along the whole region of Calchaquí Valleys, Cafayate Valley boasts differential factors, due to its geographical location and particular climate.

We are working very hard on the identification of small spots in our estates that express organoleptic differences so as to vinify them separately.

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