Monday, November 14, 2011


This sometimes happens. I say I am going to write about something and then something else captures my attention and I write about it. Gouguenheim of Argentina was my advertised subject but there was really nothing there, just another vacuous website with no ancillary wells from which to draw. So I called the supplier who kept returning to Gouguenheim's location at Tupungato as the reason the wines were so special. What a redirect! This borders on discovering Cotes d'Auvergne, France.

Tupungato is 70 kilometers from the city of Mendoza, Argentina, within the Mendoza wine appellation, the finest region of production in the country. The vineyards lie 1000 feet above sea level in the Val Escondido, a desert climate with sandy soils and 320 days of sun a year! With winter coming so late there, the extended ripening season results in wines that are subtle, elegant, and balanced without having the overblown, overbearing flavors and overly floral, perfumy aromas common in other Argentines.

Twenty years ago this area was viewed as a beautifully barren lunar-like environment with no connection to the already thriving Argentine wine industry. Today it is just the opposite. International investment money is continually pouring into Tupungato with star "flying winemakers" like Michel Rolland, actively supervising his projects in the area, along with Masi, one of Italy's finest wine concerns being heavily invested there. Projections for future investment are as endless as the accolades the wines of Tupungato are receiving. Tupungato may be one of the finest wine production regions in the world!

Along with climate, soil is a subject of ultimate importance for winemaking and does Tupungato have a story to tell there. The Pleistocene Era in geological history took place from 2,588,000 to 11,000 years before the present time. That period was know for being the time of the last glacial period. Wisconsin, for instance, was covered with glaciers. Mount Tupungato in Argentina was formed during this period as the result of it's frequent volcanic eruptions. As a "stratovolcano", or composite volcano, Tupungato became a cone-shaped mountain composed of layers of lava, tephra, pumice, and volvanic ash. Its steep sides formed because the lava hardened quickly due to high levels of silica (viscosity) and lesser amounts of mafic magma. Well known volcanos of this type include Krakatoa and Vesuvius.

Mount Tupungato is one of the highest mountains on the continent. Its name means "star viewpoint" in the Huarpe tongue and that may just as well apply to this industry's aspirations for the region. It is truly reaching for the stars.

Tuesday evening November 15th Gail Avera of Allgood wines will be tasting out wonderful wines appropriate for Thanksgiving as will Christy Dart of Gusto Brands on Friday the 18th. Gouguenheim Malbec, Reserve Malbec, and Malbec Rose are all in stock and may be purchased with a ten percent discount by citing this article.

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