The following morning, we ventured approximately 80 miles down south to Mendoza’s Uco Valley. The vineyards here are among some of the highest in Mendoza, at 900-1500m in elevation, with the stunning Andes mountain range in the immediate background.
Because of its high altitudes and proximity to the Andes, the Uco Valley is considered a cool climate wine growing region. Varietals like chardonnay, semillon, sauvignon blanc, merlot, pinot noir, malbec and syrah do well here. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bonarda, both of which need higher temperatures to ripen adequately..not so much. Up until the late 1980’s, much of this now vineyard area was devoted to apple, apricot and cherry orchards.
The Uco Valley is divided into the following 3 departments from north to south:
Within San Carlos, the vineyard area known as La Consulta –Altamira is responsible for producing some very highly regarded wines made especially from malbec and tempranillo.
It is here that Paula and Pablo Pizzella farm a 10 hectare vineyard along with their 3 children. Both Paula and Pablo are former physical education teachers, so working this modest vineyard pretty much on their own is physically challenging but entirely doable.
It is small growers like the Pizzellas that prompted Ed Lehrman and Nick Ramkowsky, the owners of Vine Connections, to develop a collection of wines that showcase the wines of Argentina and the people who make them. The range of wines was to be called La Posta, a tavern where historically winegrowers and winemakers would often convene to discuss their trials, tribulations, and triumphs. I am sure that they also probably kicked back a glass or two of wine..and RELAXED..
The Pizzellas were introduced to Ed and Nick by Laura Catena, who as a member of one of Argentina’s most well respected and connected wine making families, really has her pulse on the hidden gems of the wine country. And as you probably guessed, the rest is history..
On this particular morning we were also introduced to Luis Reginato and Celeste Pesce. Luis is one of Argentina’s young and very talented viticulturalists and winemakers who is in charge of production for the La Posta range. He works with the growers in the vineyards and then focuses on the vinification and blending. In addition to consulting on various other projects, Luis also makes the wine for Laura Catena’s line..Luca as well as brother Ernesto’s wines at Tikal. Celeste, a trained oenologist as well, is the assistant winemaker for La Posta and is also in charge of logistics and marketing.
Varietal : 100% Malbec
Vineyard Location(s): Uco Valley (La Consulta – Altamira)
Vineyard Elevation: 3050 feet
Age of Vines: 10 years
Harvest method: hand harvested
Vinification: stainless steel
Elevage/Ageing: 12 months in 100% French oak barrels, 20% new, 80% second-use
Case Production: 10000
The 2008 La Posta -Pizzella family vineyards Malbec..perfect with jamon, cheese..and more jamon..as you’ll discover in my next post!