Guardians of Mountain Life: Terrazas de los Andes

Fierce and wild, the majestic Andes mountains is likely to be the final place one would anticipate to come across verdant vineyards. But upon exploration of the area, French adventurer Herve´ Birnie-Scott envisioned terraced vines carved into the seemingly inhospitable terrain. Armed solely with a WWI-era altimeter, sturdy boots, in depth viticulture expertise, and a dream, the viticulturist and winemaker got down to show that contemporary, site-specific wines might be comprised of essentially the most excessive reaches of this magical, mountainous place. Terrazas de los Andes is validation that he was greater than right.

A chilly-climate winemaking professional with expertise in Sancerre, Victoria, and California’s North Coast, Birnie-Scott was delivered to Mendoza in 1991 by Jean-Pierre Thibaud, president on the time of Moët & Chandon’s Argentina group. With a perception that Mendoza may ship world-class nonetheless wines (Moët & Chandon had been experimenting with making French-inspired glowing wines in Argentina for the reason that Fifties), Thibaud challenged Birnie-Scott to discover the intense high-altitude, cool-climate terroirs positioned within the terraces of the Andes mountains and to guide the seek for winery websites able to a refined varietal expression.

Hervé Birnie-Scott

Up into the mountains he went. For 5 years, Birnie-Scott scoured the Andes foothills, pouring over topographical maps (the place he realized that for each 100 meters in elevation acquire the temperature drops one level Celsius) and mountain climbing the various mountain terraces that give Terrazas de los Andes its title. He additionally labored to refine and redefine winemaking practices in Argentina, changing outdated strategies with high quality wine practices from France.

Birnie-Scott’s explorations didn’t go unnoticed. As a result of the opposite bodegas had been farming heavy and standard wines on the simply accessed, sun-burned plateaus of the Mendoza lowlands, the locals nicknamed him “el loco frances” (the loopy Frenchman) for his years-long quest to seize the pure, contemporary style of the Andes from these high-risk however high-reward elevations that require excessive viticulture. His adventures in the end led to the creation of Terrazas de los Andes, whose first classic, 1996, was launched in 1999.

Terrazas de los Andes Vineyards

Right this moment, with Birnie-Scott as property director, Terrazas de los Andes farms a panoramic mosaic of 200+ particular person high-altitude wine terraces producing 100% pure mountain fruit, irrigated exactly and sustainably with pristine glacier water. Malbec is the star, but every of the wines is full-bodied however elegantly fragrant and vivid.  

To realize Terrazas’ signature vivid type, Birnie-Scott is adamant about not erasing the character of the grape with an excessive amount of extraction or over-ripeness. He additionally harvests on the early aspect, preserving vigorous acidity, a ruby hue, and vivid floral notes on the nostril. For the mouthfeel he goals for a wine that’s juicy and full bodied with intention, that includes a beam of acidity, the results of elevation and the early ripening. His method, mixed with the high-altitude terroir, provides Terrazas wines the freshness and sense of place that could be a level of distinction throughout all of the model’s tiers: Reserva Excessive Altitude, Grand, and the single-vineyard Parcel Assortment.

Terrazas de los Andes Vineyard

Respect for nature is essential to the Terrazas winemaking philosophy which is predicated on the idea that wine is grown, not made. Recognizing the conservation of this fragile ecosystem as a sacred accountability, the Terrazas group is dedicated to a challenge they name Guardians of Mountain Life, the mission of which is to unleash and shield the magic on the prime of the world – embracing regenerative and natural viticulture, conserving valuable glacier water, and supporting the native Andean neighborhood and their very own workers.

Terrazas de los Andes Cellar

With a motto of “Onward and upward,” Birnie-Scott continues to find new wine frontiers, similar to Terrazas’ El Espinillo property, the very best winery in Gualtallary at 5413 ft (1650 meters) and the jewel within the Terrazas crown. At all times exploring, he and the Terrazas group proceed their pursuit of recent wine frontiers. 

Pictures courtesy of Terrazas de los Andes



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