Guardians of Mountain Life: Terrazas de los Andes

Fierce and wild, the majestic Andes mountains is perhaps 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, intensive viticulture expertise, and a dream, the viticulturist and winemaker got down to show that recent, site-specific wines might be made out 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 dropped at 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 Nineteen Fifties), Thibaud challenged Birnie-Scott to discover the acute high-altitude, cool-climate terroirs situated within the terraces of the Andes mountains and to steer 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 discovered that for each 100 meters in elevation achieve the temperature drops one level Celsius) and mountain climbing the numerous mountain terraces that give Terrazas de los Andes its identify. He additionally labored to refine and redefine winemaking practices in Argentina, changing outdated methods with high-quality wine practices from France.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 traditional 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, recent style of the Andes from these high-risk however high-reward elevations that require excessive viticulture. His adventures finally led to the creation of Terrazas de los Andes, whose first classic, 1996, was launched in 1999.

Terrazas de los Andes Vineyards

In the present day, with Birnie-Scott as property director, Terrazas de los Andes farms a wide ranging 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 shiny.  

To attain Terrazas’ signature shiny 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 facet, preserving vigorous acidity, a ruby hue, and shiny 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, offers Terrazas wines the freshness and sense of place that may 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 relies on the idea that wine is grown, not made. Recognizing the conservation of this fragile ecosystem as a sacred duty, the Terrazas staff is dedicated to a mission they name Guardians of Mountain Life, the mission of which is to unleash and defend the magic on the prime of the world – embracing regenerative and natural viticulture, conserving treasured 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, akin to Terrazas’ El Espinillo property, the best winery in Gualtallary at 5413 ft (1650 meters) and the jewel within the Terrazas crown. All the time exploring, he and the Terrazas staff proceed their pursuit of latest wine frontiers. 

Images courtesy of Terrazas de los Andes

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