El Camino – the King’s Highway – threads mythically through the foothills of the majestic Andes among vineyards famed the world over for the purity of their growing conditions. The combination of these superb vineyard sites, the dedication and expertise of the local viticulturists and winemakers and a touch of European know-how, results in wines of real intensity.
2020 was one of the earliest and warmest vintages on record. With low rainfall throughout the season, a cool and dry winter was followed by a hot summer. The combination of no winter snow and hydric stress from the hot, dry summer meant that yields were significantly reduced. The berries were smaller and matured at a much quicker rate than usual. The harvest was brought forward by approximately one month in most cases. It was essential to pick at the right moment, to ensure good acidity balanced the mature tannins and concentrated flavours.
The vineyards are located around Costa de Araujo, North East of Mendoza. The climate is semi-desert, with low annual rainfall. The area is influenced by its proximity to the Andes Mountains, where the melted snow flows through irrigation channels to nourish the vines during the hot summer months. The strong wind, known locally as the ‘Zonda’ which usually occurs during May and November, brings with it warmer temperatures, often followed by cooler ones, requiring vigilance in the vineyard. The soils are mainly clay, which has good water retention properties, ideal in this warm climate.
The grapes were destemmed after harvesting, to obtain a fruity expression from the grapes. After pressing, 60% of the juice underwent temperature controlled maceration to extract flavour, colour and to impart structure to the wine. The remaining 40% of the juice was fermented immediately between 20 to 25°C imparting a vibrancy and freshness to the wine. After the alcoholic fermentation and malolactic conversions were complete, the wine was then centrifuged, clarified and filtered prior to bottling.
A well-balanced wine with inviting aromas of plum jam, through to a fresh juicy palate and a rich smoky finish.