The softness of the Salta’s wines: way to the tops !
If you are visiting the Bolivian’s vineyards of Tarija, do not hesitate to cross the Argentinian borderline to reach my mountainous paradise and taste the Salta’s wines !
Some villages which come straight from a Sergio Leone’s western, colours like Cézanne’s painting, a gastronomy to dizzy Michelin and wines of altitude with a typical terroir: welcome in the Salta region ! All start on the Cachi’s road. There, you ask to visit Miraluna. Why this name ? Because the atmosphere is so pure and cloudless that the vineyard doesn’t bore to watch the moon ! That’s the explanation which Elvio will give you, during the visit of this small vineyard: 3 hectares of vineyards dedicated to Malbec and Merlot. You have the choice between the Reserva and the Varietal. The difference ? 9 months in French oak and 6 months in bottle for the first one against 2 months in American oak and 4 months in bottle for the second one. Consequence ? An endless aroma of red fruit for the Varietal and a complexity brought by the tobacco and the dark chocolate for the Reserva. A small downside about the alcoholic degree a bit strong for me, but it’s worth. The secret ? According to Elvio, it’s about the water of the mountain, rich in mineral, which could grow strawberries during the winter ! For my part, I shall content myself with wine, and that’s really good ! And nothing better that a night in Cachi to stay in the “Argentinian Farwest” atmosphere !
And it’s a good base to ride South the next day, way to Molinos, and to go to the Bodega Colomé. Not really enthusiast with the big “stable”, I confess that this one seduced me. The decoration is simply amazing, the tasting entertaining and if you feel like to eat there, you can go blindly ! The Swiss owner, which already has 7 bodegas in the world, bought 39 000 hectares in 2001. 70% of exportations, 70% of Malbec, 3400 meters of altitude, vines of 150 years old, and above all, the biggest pride of the owner: all organic and some biodynamics wines ! So, turn on the power ! The result is a basic wine Amalaya, without pretention, for a low price, perfect for the apero as the blend Riesling/Torrontès. But the rest is more disappointing: a Colomé Torrontès flat, a Colomé Estate Malbec really vanilla-flavoured and a heady Colomé Late Syrah, too much jammy. The only one which marked my palate is the Amalaya Gran Corte: black fruits, liquorice, elegant, long length, so a Malbec/Cab Franc/Tannat well balanced !
But, I opt for a smaller bodega, with human size. For that, you have to go ahead the dry and mountainous valley to reach the Bodega Humanao. Without the board, you really don’t imagine that you are close to a bodega in this tiny village. And yet, Walters will welcome you with open arms for a tasting, with simplicity. The 25 hectares purchased in 2001 gathered Malbec/Cab Sauvignon/Torrontès. Same winemaker that Miraluna, we recognise the signature. The Malbec Reserva Planta Veja 2013 is pure and elegant, whereas the Malbec Reserva Spe is more complex: toasted bread, black fruits, smelty tannins, … a silky wine !!! A true heart-stopper, for the welcome as much as the wines. Go there ! And more, don’t stop here: you have to get lost in this Colorado scenery to reach Tacuil. How do you explain you ? Just imagine you want to invest in a vineyard for its landscape, its wines, its ground and its welcome. That’s enough, you got it !
And it’s Alfredo, lovingly sticking the labels, who will welcome you with simplicity and smile. And there, the RD Cab Sauvignon/ Malbec en 50/50 is a pure jewel. Neither oak, nor filtered, and entirely bio, it’s a wine with an incredible purity! I am not particularly focused on the bio or others things, but here, I have to confess that this wine captivated me ! So, nothing better that a night in Cafayate to recover from this hard day…even if the road isn’t really beautiful 😉
I admit that watching the photos, it wasn’t so bad… 🙂 So, I make myself to stay a bit more to visit the José Luis Mounier‘s bodega. Certainly, the most professional and quiet reception of the travel. Comfortably installed in the tasting room, the explanations of this bodega are clear, interesting and lively…in addition to the view. All the harvest is manual, the place has to deal with an important dryness. With a stony ground, the grapes are strongly concentrated. After a month of fermentation, 80% of the reds are without oak: Argentinian taste which doesn’t have neither the patience nor the conditions to keep the wine. At that time, I don’t want to wait to: the Finca Las Nubes in 100% Malbec is wonderful ! It’s fine and ethereal: I love it !!! About the Torrontès, it’s plenty of rose, peach and litchi. A great and good classic ! And nothing avoid you to go with some empanadas on the sun…the matching is ideal ! The biodynamic is in progress in this bodega, where another originality is waiting for you: a Torrontès fermented a month in an egg in ciment. He keeps its typicality of the rose, almost violet, but lets some notes of pineapple and passion fruit. Not really typical, it’s worth to try. But, as a coincidence, the best white was for the end. For that, with some friendly advices, I headed to San Pedro de Yacochuya. For the wine lovers, this name must to tell you something: a large part of the production is turning to wine by Michel Rolland. And his idea was to produce the Torrontès of the San Pedros line with the skin, and then 18 months in French oak and a year in bottle. The result is impressive: more flowery and dry, it’s a “Torrontès” to keep. But if you like your classics, the basic one Coquena will fill you: it’s open on the grapefruit, the litchi and even the mint. Fresh, light, with a high acidity, it’s a good work !!! This last one convinced me to stay and to convert myself in Coquena, herdsman of the llamas in the Calchaqui mythology…