Remolinos Vineyard, named after its tiny whirlwinds, was started from a patch of bare land where only wild shrubs grew. At 3,500 feet (1,050 meters) it is located in the highest area of Agrelo, in the region of Mendoza. The planning of the vineyard was meticulous and based on our conviction that all decisions had to be sensitive to the natural attributes of this beautiful, if desolate, terrain.
We chose to plant only red varieties, those ideally suited to Agrelo. Our Amano approach involved working in harmony with the climate and tapestry of soils exploring the sub-variations of our Remolinos Vineyard to find the area most suited to each variety. We nurture our vineyard vine-by-vine so that we can handcraft wines which truly reflect our one-of-a-kind Remolinos Vineyard.
The altitude of 3,500 feet (1,050 meters) allows the grapes to mature slowly to perfection, developing complex flavours, but it demands viticultural precision and expertise. The climate is one of warm days and cool nights, an extremely marked temperature difference that encourages gradual maturation of the grapes. Our vineyard is in an ideal site within Agrelo, where the westerly night air from the Andes passes its cooling influence through the vines, continuing over our vineyard before being trapped in the lower land beyond. The vineyard’s aspect, sloping from the higher west towards the lower east, combined with an unconventional row orientation doubly ensure our vines benefit from the gentle morning sun and are protected from the stronger afternoon heat.
The strangest and most special natural attributes of the site are the remolinos, or tiny whirlwinds. When we found the site there were many of these little gusts of air stirring up the bare earth into dancing spiral forms. They are most conspicuous just prior to vintage, when they lightly cool the grapes and perform a critical function in maintaining vine healthy and dry during the light summer rains. The soil itself is a tapestry of alluvial deposits of clay through to sandy loams over gravely sub-soils. The exact soil composition and particle size across our long, thin Remolinos Vineyard creates a wealth of variation to which varieties and clones respond in particular ways. Our winemaking approach is about observing these natural attributes and differences and working in harmony with them. Every parcel within our single vineyard has a unique character.
As for varieties, we refused from the start to compromise by working with any variety other than the reds which are perfectly suited to Agrelo, particularly Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. We emphasize clonal diversity for complexity, particularly in the new Malbec selections, and we are always exploring the uniqueness of our Remolinos Vineyard. Just as we have come to recognise lifted violet aromatics as a trait of Malbec planted on the coarser soils in the north-western part of our Remolinos Vineyard, we have noted the concentration and firmer tannins of Malbec planted in the finer soils. Planting Petit Verdot vines on some of our coarser soils has restrained the vines´ natural vigour and resulted in consistently complex and balanced wines.
Our approach means getting to know this single vineyard intimately, almost inch by inch, so that we can develop sensitive, sustainable methods of viticulture that allow the unique natural attributes of the Remolinos Vineyard and of Agrelo to shine through in our wines.