To celebrate its complete collection of reds and whites, Argentine winery Terrazas de los Andes brought a taste of the Andes mountains to Aspen for a two-day South American, cowboy-themed fete. Journalists and connoisseurs enjoyed the label’s varietals while horseback riding and feasting on ceviche, salt-baked fish and a full-blown, authentic asado (or barbecue), set against the gorgeous backup of the Rocky Mountains.
Located in the foothills of the Andes mountains in Mendoza, Argentina, the LVMH-owned vineyard boasts 4,500-foot altitudes, the highest of any area vineyards. The 1,250-acre winery, which opened in 1999, is fed by melt water from the Andes and produces rich but accessibly priced vino that’s been aged 18 to 24 months in traditional French oak barrels.
After working with Moet Hennessy brands in France for many years, the company sent Hervé Birnie-Scott, who oversees Terrazas, Cheval des Andes and Bodegas Chandon in South America, to Argentina as operational director of Estates & Wines’ worldwide wineries. During the recent two-day tasting, Birnie-Scott explained that 50 percent of all Argentine malbecs are sold in the United States, and this number will only continue to grow. Despite this, it’s interesting to note that red wine is a relatively new trend in Argentina, around only since the 1990s.
“We will see more Argentina terroirs in the future and less malbec,” Birnie-Scott explains. “Terroirs make all the difference. It’s everything.”
Terrazas, for one, isn’t resting on its laurels: In the past 12 years, the winery has experienced double-digit growth, and it recently opened its first winery in China.
Herewith, some insights gathered from our taste test:
Terrazas Reserva Torrontés 2012: A brand new DNA for the brand; contains notes of jasmine, florals and citrus (orange peel and grapefruit). Refreshingly light.
Terrazas Single Vineyard Las Compuertas Malbec 2009: 2009 was a perfect year with great weather; wine is fresh and full-bodied.
Terrazas Single Vineyard Las Compuertas Malbec 2002: Crystallized fruit, citric characteristics, fruit-filled and complex.
Terrazas Single Vineyard Las Compuertas Malbec 2005: Proof that a malbec can age well without losing structure. A lively, fruity wine with powerful tannins.