A handful of Calchaqui Valley Winemakers are currently producing wines from vineyards at the very limits of where grapes can be grown.
These vineyards are located in extremely isolated locations, making the time, resources and costs of sustaining the vineyards a challenge for even the most ardent oenologist.
Yet the superior quality of the wines produced warrants the effort as the more extreme temperature variations, higher levels of solar radiation and the long maturation period results in highly concentrated and complex wines.
In descending order of the vintners making wines from the world’s five highest vineyards, all of which are located in the Calchaqui valley, home to the up and coming Argentine wine town of Cafayate:
#1 Colome, which makes it’s Altura Maxima brand from grapes grown at vineyards 9,849 feet high.
#2 Agustin Lanus Wines, makers of SUNAL and AGUAYO Extreme Altitude wines with vineyards at 8858 feet.
#3 Tacuil with vineyards at 8,200 feet.
#4 Altupalka with vineyards at 8,200 feet.
#5 Dupont with vineyards at 7,874 feet.
As a point of comparison, the highest vineyard in the Mendoza wine region, Argentina’s largest and most commercial, just 5,000 feet.
So, while you are in Cafayate, don’t miss the opportunity to get extreme!!
Additional reading: Exploring High Altitude Viticulture from Vineyard & Winery Management
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