When we first tasted the Ver Sacrum, La Cayetana Pinot Noir it tipped us over the edge from excitement into ecstatic wonder. How rapidly Pinot Noir has become special in Argentina, ever so quietly. This example speaks volumes of its potential and epitomises the sheer sensitivity at play in La Cayetana’s winemaking. The wine sings with choral clarity of varietal purity on the nose – wild red fruits with mysterious hints of forest floor. In the mouth the structure and tension verge on austerity but the wine is young and will no doubt develop beguiling complexity if you are patient enough. We are not! We love this wine for its rasping freshness, its wild, barely-tamed character, and its downright honesty. A million miles away from Marlborough or Oregon in style with a distinctly restrained personality.
The vineyards for the La Cayetana Pinot Noir 2018 are situated in the Valle del Uco at 1100m above sea level. The difference between day and night temperatures at this altitude is relatively large, providing ideal conditions for slow ripening and retaining freshness.
The grapes are hand-harvested.
The four-week fermentation takes place with native yeasts in 400-litre barrels. Fifty percent of the ferment consists of whole bunch grapes for a bit of additional freshness and texture.
The wines age for twelve months in used 225-litre French oak barrels. Malolactic conversion happens spontaneously. After eight months in bottle the wines are ready for release.
French grape varieties didn’t really exist in Argentina prior to the mid-19th Century. Finca La Cayetana, just a short drive from Mendoza City, was the first planted with French grapes and was fully planted (70 Hectares) by 1860. The first building here was constructed in the late 1700s and was later extended in 1865 and 1949, the manor house of the first large winery estate in the area. The house was purchased in 2013 by Eduardo and Emilia Soler (Eduardo of Ver Sacrum) and is today home to an experimental vineyard / nursery as well as a cornucopia of stunning artworks. The couple lovingly restored the property with the utmost respect for its rich history and tradition, with sustainability at the forefront of their minds.
La Cayetana is fundamentally Emilia’s project, with Eduardo’s assistance in the vineyard and tiny winery (garage!). There are plantings of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Pedro Ximenez (Criolla Blanca). Ancient techniques such as biological ageing (maturation under flor) are practiced alongside modern precision viticulture, all with the aim of restoring the great tradition of Los Vinos de la Tierra de la Cruz de Piedra.
When we discovered Ver Sacrum we were immediately excited. To find this sister project working alongside, offering beauty and intrigue in equal measure, was something extra special.