Sunday, December 30, 2012

Andeluna and Phenolic Ripeness

Whenever the public responds to a store selection the way it has to Andeluna, this old codger has to sit up and take notice.  We have been selling the Andeluna Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec here for the past couple months and with great regularity I hear the accolades flowing forth from regular customers and newbies who now think this place is tops because of their Andeluna experience.  So let's take a look at Andeluna.

Andeluna is located in the "Napa" of Argentina, that is, Mendoza, but not near-in but well south of the city in the Uco Valley which hugs the Tunuyan River in that high altitude plateau called Tupungato (blog 11/14/11).  This region, 45 miles long and 15 miles wide at 33 degrees latitude, actually contains the highest altitude vineyards in Argentina which supply the valued "diurnal effect" of great temperature shifts between day and night, balancing the sugars and acids in the grapes in the process. 

"Phenolic ripeness" is one of the hipper oenological terms in the vernacular currently.  It pertains to the ripeness of the fruit flavors and aromas along with tannins and the depth of the red and purple color (anthocyanins) of the wine.  The seeds and grapeskins are most important in the providence of phenolic ripeness.  For the best article possible on the subject go to Matthew Citriglia's handiwork at which is where I got my information for this paragraph.

Back to Andeluna...  H. Ward Lay, of Frito-Lay fame, is the owner of the property; Silvio Alberto is the winemaker; Michel Rolland is the celebrity consultant; and Ricardo Reina Rutini is the local wine aristocrat who somehow has a hand in the production.  Whew!  This is big business.  All four of the aforementioned individuals are giants in their own right.  Alberto is a university professor; Rolland is a "flying winemaker" ala Paul Hobbs; and Rutini represents the third generation of the premier Italian immigrant winemaking family and the prior owners of the Andeluna estate.  With all of the emphasis on personnel, of course, Mr. Lay is an American.  The name, Andeluna, by the way, refers to the way the moonglow reflects on the Andes at that altitude. 

Now back to phenolic ripeness...  Tupungato is the place where everybody and their brother in the wine industry are heading now to put in a stake for vineyard acquisition.  Why?  Because the conditions are so perfect.  With all of the new technology available to adjust this and that to improve the chemical composition of a wine, if the place, itself, is ideal, why not go there?  Our blogs about "Flash Detente" (9/15/12) and "Methoxypyrazine"(9/24/12) both refer to processes that amend traditional winemaking to make ordinary wine better.  If the vineyard conditions are intrinsically fine, as they are at Andeluna, then just make the wine!

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