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Achaval Ferrer

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Our WinesPlease click here to view wines.

Location and Climate: Located in Mendoza, between 700 and 1,100 metres above sea level, this region’s soil and climate provides privileged conditions for the Malbec variety. The varying temperatures (warm days and cold nights), desert climate, poor soils and the irrigation from the Andean glacial waters all contribute to the grape maturation, resulting in wines that are complex and profound.  

History: A group of friends from Argentina and Italy combined their dreams and efforts in 1998 to create wine. Since the first harvest in 1999, Santiago Achaval, Manuel Ferrer Minetti, Marcelo Victoria, Diego Rosso and the Italians Roberto Cipresso and Tiziano Siviero, achieved their shared dream to produce wine in small quantities and with the highest respect for the grape varieties and terrior. Roberto Cipresso is a well-known winemaker specialising in top quality, low production wines in Italy. He is partnered with Siverio at La Floritta, a small winery in the heart of Toscana that produces one of the top wines in the world: Brunello di Montalcino.

Winery: In March 2006, the group achieved their dream of having their own winery in Luján del Cuyo, at Finca Bella Vista. The winery is built with practicality and safety in mind. Antique and modern styles coexist in the same place, giving the winery a harmonic environment within view of the majestic Andes Mountains.

 

Viticulture Information: 

Finca Altamira
Located at 1,050 metres above sea level in La Consulta region of Valle de Uco, onthe southern border of the Tunuyan River. The 5.2 hectares of Malbec vines are more than 80 years old. Phylloxera does not threaten the vines as the irrigation comes from pristine Andean glacial waters does not allow the proliferation of the insect. The old and the high-density level (6,500 vines per hectare) plantings assure low yields of less than 400 grams per plant.  

Finca Bella Vista
Located in Pedriel in Luján del Cuyo, at 950 metres above sea level on the southern border of the Mendoza River. Nearly 100 years old, this finca (vineyard) has 8 hectares of Malbec and 4 of Shiraz and Merlot and a 40cm mud layer. It is planted at a density of 6,000 plants per hectare. This finca is a part of the same land as the Achaval Ferrer winery. 

Finca Mirador
Located in Medrano with 5 hectares of Malbec, this finca is 700 metres above sea level with an alluvial soil floor and a 1-metre thick slit-clay surface. It is surrounded by quince and olive trees, and rosemary plants cover Finca Mirador on the west margin of the canal. 

Finca Diamante
Situated in Tupungato in Valle de Uco, at an altitude of 1,100 meters above the sea level and is “Quimera’s” base. The 40 hectares of vines are made up of: 6 hectares of Merlot, 4 of Cabernet Sauvignon and 6 of Cabernet Franc planted in a density of almost 7,000 plants per hectare. The soil floor has a caliche layer, a sort of one metre deep underground mantle that gives calcium carbonate and a special character to the vines. The irrigation is a drip-based system.

 

Achaval Ferrer Winery Photo

 

Vineyard Management:

Achaval Ferrer wines are based on 5 relevant procedures: 

  • Leafless: The procedure by which they prune back the leaves from the grape bunches. This helps to increase insolation and is beneficial to the maturity of the whole fruit. In Finca Diamante case they can also “leafless” in the west side as this estate has a better altitude and therefore colder. “Leafless” is done in December when the grain is still green leaving the cluster totally exposed.
  • Irrigation: From 20th December the irrigation system is decreased. This practice is done in the moment the plant determines the grape size. This is done to determine the grape diameter and increase the relationship in between the pulp. This causes a great aroma and a special taste.
  • Green Harvest:The green harvest is done between January and February when the clusters start turning from green to black.
  • Irrigation Suspension: Three weeks approximately before harvest the irrigation system is totally suspended.
  • Selection: They take care of each grape in the vineyard and if they see that one of those are damaged they take it away as in this case they give a more bitter taste

Harvest:

They harvest when the sugar surpasses 23 Brix (a unit measuring the sugar content in a solution) to produce wines with more than 13% alcohol. Each cluster is analysed by the winemaker for quality, consistence, taste, and also tannin maturation (which gives the wines aromas and flavours).

Harvest is always done first thing in the morning (avoiding pre-fermentation of grapes due to the hot temperatures) and the grapes are collected on small boxes in order to avoid breaking or damaging them. The boxes are transported to the winery in refrigerated trucks that preserve the quality of the grapes achieved in the vineyard. Once at the winery, the grapes pass trough a double selection to achieve the best quality in the wines. 

Winemaking:

The winemaking process begins on elevated platform, working by gravity flow, to preserve the fruit. They use the most modern wine crushing/destemming machine, identical to the one used by their winemaker to produce Brunello di Montalcino (in Italy). The fermentation process is done adding neutral yeast to avoid altering the aroma and taste the grape has. The fermentation in done in cement tanks, like in old times, and are designed to be more wide than tall in order to provide a greater surface area and more contact between grapes skins and juice.

The alcoholic fermentation takes place in between 7 and 9 days during which the sugars transform into alcohol. This part of the process is focussed on extracting the maximum of aromas and colours through remontage (“pumping over”), dellestage (“rack and return”) and battonage (“stirring”). 

Once the alcoholic fermentation is completed the wine goes immediately into barrels for malolactic fermentation. At the end of winter, the wine is racked (i.e. the barrels are drained and the wine rests in stainless steel tanks while the barrels are cleaned before wine is returned). Bottling only occurs once the wine is, under winemaker’s supervision, considered ready and this process is completed without filtration in order to maintain the natural aromas and flavours.

Achaval Ferrer Winery Photo

People: 

  • President and Winemaker: Santiago Achaval Becu. He founded Achaval Ferrer Winery with three friends in 1998: Manuel Ferrer (also Argentinean), Roberto Cipresso (Italian winemaker) and Tiziano Siviero (also Italian). 
  • Winemaker: Roberto Cipresso: famous Italian winemaker; known as “terroiriste”.

Website: www.achaval-ferrer.com