Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Taste: On the nose, it reveals ripe black cherry, cassis, and plum notes, complemented by a hint of black licorice. The entry is marked by rounded tannins, leading to a palate of great structure and excellent acidity. Hints of black olive and cedar appear on the finish, contributing to a fluid and long-lasting taste experience. This wine is a quintessential representation of the high-altitude terroir of Cafayate, delivering a well-balanced and fruit-driven expression of hand-harvested Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pairing: This Cabernet Sauvignon pairs exceptionally well with robust, flavorful dishes. Try it with a classic Argentine Asado (barbecue) or beef empanadas (check out the recipe below) – its structured tannins and vibrant acidity cut through the richness of the grilled meats, while the fruit-forward profile complements the smoky flavors. Vegetarian options like grilled portobello mushrooms or a lentil and vegetable stew will also work well, as the wine's robust profile can stand up to these hearty dishes. Its versatility ensures it can enhance a variety of cuisines, making it a fantastic choice for diverse culinary explorations.
By David Tanis
About. High in the mountains of Argentina's northwest, the small family-owned El Porvenir de Cafayate winery crafts wine that defies elevation, battling the elements to produce something extraordinary. In a desert region known for its dramatic landscapes and extreme viticulture conditions, the 2021 El Porvenir 'Amauta Absoluto' Cabernet Sauvignon stands tall, a testament to the region's capacity for remarkable winemaking.
From Family Roots to Sustainable Growth
Established in 2000 by the Romero-Marcuzzi family, the El Porvenir winery has been a beacon for quality viticulture within the Calchaqui Valley. With an altitude soaring to 5740 feet, the family's vineyards are among the world's highest, a unique characteristic that amplifies the region's innate ability to produce top-notch grapes. Despite the desert climate and poor soil, or perhaps because of it, the vines yield grapes of outstanding quality, contributing to some of the most highly esteemed wines Argentina has to offer.
Lucia Romero-Marcuzzi, the founder's granddaughter, leads the current operations with dedication, aided by winemaker Mariano Quiroga Adamo, agronomist Santiago Bugallo, and wine consultant Paul Hobbs. Under their meticulous care, the vineyard remains true to its roots while incorporating modern viticulture techniques. Their philosophy?
Quality begins in the vineyards. Every process, from planting to manual harvest, is attentively managed. Their love for the craft continues to the gravity-flow winery and the wines' aging in French and American oak barrels.
The Wine: A Celebration of Nature's Bounty
The 2021 El Porvenir 'Amauta Absoluto' Cabernet Sauvignon celebrates the Calchaqui Valley's unique terroir. This single-vineyard wine comes from 100% hand-harvested Cabernet Sauvignon, grown in the vineyard known as Finca Rio Seco. With only 2.8 tons harvested per acre, the result is a limited production of approximately 2600 cases annually.
As you pour a glass, the wine captures your attention with an intense ruby-red hue accented by vibrant violet undertones. The nose entices with a subtle whiff of black licorice with ripe black cherry, cassis, and plum. A sip introduces a well-structured palate with firm, sweet tannins and excellent acidity—hints of black olive and cedar grace the finish, leaving a long, satisfying aftertaste.
The winemaking process, supervised by Paco Puga, ensures the utmost care is taken to retain the grape's essence. After a 12-day maceration and fermentation, the wine matures in stainless steel tanks, allowing it to develop its distinctive character. Lees contact extends for 45 days, adding complexity before a light cartridge filter finishes the wine.
Cafayate: An Elevated Terroir
The winery's location within Cafayate, part of the more expansive Calchaqui Valley, is crucial to the wine's profile. Renowned for its high-altitude vineyards and exceptional Torrontes and Malbec production, the valley offers a unique terroir, particularly well suited for the Cabernet Sauvignon grape.
Nestled at an altitude of 1700m, or 5600ft, Cafayate's terroir is defined by its intense sunlight, which leads to grapes developing thicker skins to protect against solar radiation. Coupled with the substantial diurnal temperature variation, the region boasts a lengthy growing season that imbues the wines with a remarkable balance.
Despite the arid climate and minimal rainfall, the valley's vineyards remain hydrated thanks to meltwater rivers. This combination of extreme conditions and adept irrigation creates a unique viticultural landscape that shapes every bottle of El Porvenir 'Amauta Absoluto' Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2021 El Porvenir 'Amauta Absoluto' Cabernet Sauvignon is more than just a wine; it's a story of a place and a family's commitment to honoring its roots. With each sip, you're taken on a journey to the high-altitude vineyards of the Calchaqui Valley, where tradition meets innovation and the land's adversities are transformed into an elixir of unparalleled delight.