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Vallisto, Barbera 2018
Francisco (Pancho) Lavaque
From grapes grown at 1,900 MASL on the western slope of Cafayate Valley, this wine will bring a beaming smile to the most miserable of faces! The nose is an explosion of beautifully pure, sweet aromas of raspberry ripple, blackberries and blueberry pie. Extensive, gentle pumping over brings very deep colour but the extraction is exceptionally well handled, making for a mid-to-full weight wine possessing a truly silky, sensuous texture, with very fine tannins and a big, open, honest, long finish. This is completely unlike any Italian Barbera you will have tasted, principally because it carries that unmistakable silkiness and heady aromatic profile that so many excellent Salta wines do, and with style and finesse. A find, a revelation, a bloody lovely wine.
Francisco (Pancho) Lavaque is part of the Lavaque family, a well-known producer of wines from Cafayate in Salta in the far north of Argentina. His Vallisto wines ( a Vallisto is a person from the valley, fundamentally from the Cafayate Valley) exploit exceptional Criolla vines, first planted in 1898 and residing at an altitude of 2600m in the Calchaqui Valley. The Criolla Chica grape is more commonly seen in Chile (where it's known as Pais) but is well suited to the extreme conditions of the north of Argentina. Vallisto is about expressing the virtues of the unique terroirs in and around this beautiful, remote area of Argentina. It is also a rescue mission, giving voice to long-forgotten vineyards and lesser-known grape varieties, pulling together a youthful, dynamic approach to winemaking and the kind of natural resources that take millennia to form. Pancho and his team are creating exciting, rare gems, often from very old vines, and they are crafting modern, elegant wines that are light on extraction and big on flavour and complexity.