How old is old? This 2015 Belasco de Baquedano Llama Old Vine Malbec is about 106 years old. And old vines have plenty of tales to tell. Namely, what the condition of the soil is, how well they have been tended from year to year, how strong their roots are.
Tried and True
Celebrating their 100th birthday in 2010, these vines began with good roots: they are clones (genetically identical cuttings of mother vines, selected for particular characteristics) of the French black Bordeaux grape. Nestled at the base of the Aconcagua Mountains, warmer days are counterbalanced by cool nights (dipping down almost as much as 45degrees F) which works to heighten the richness and complexity of the wine’s flavor and aromatics. The grapes are given even further ‘hang time’ to develop flavors, even after sugar levels indicate that ripeness has been achieved.
While there is scant rainfall in this wine growing region, irrigation is provided in its purest form by runoff (comprised of melted snow) from nearby Andes mountains.
Age Before Beauty
Old vine grapes are generally hand harvested, which is more gentle on the vines and grapes. The higher velocity shaking of machine harvesting can be more jarring to the vines. The wine is then aged at least six momths in French oak which gives qualities of subtle toast, nuttiness and softer tannins. The final product is soft yet structured, and luxurious with rich flavors of ripe blackberry, rich plum and spice.
About the Llama…
In Argentina, the llama regarded as a sure-footed, strong, support worker animal helping transport packages and supplies through difficult terrain. Stalwart but stubborn, if you load them up too much, they will not budge. And they might even spit in your eye if you diss them.
With Age Comes…
…Wisdom! But also some spectacular wine. So respect the hard working, old vine, it’s toiled through the ages to produce a wonderful bounty for you to enjoy.