Does New World have Terroir?
We have heard many times that the New World, because of its recent viticultural tradition and its widespread industrial approach on winemaking, cannot be a place of Terroir. We defy this statement, reminding those who say it that all traditions have a starting point. All continents appeared at the same time and regions very similar to even the most historic European wine areas, can be found in other parts of the planet. As our interest is focused on Mendoza and the development of its Terroir, we can narrow the question down to: “Does Mendoza have a Terroir?”
A Terroir in the Making
Since our beginnings, it has been a shared opinion in our group that the Malbec tradition is the core of Mendoza as a developing Terroir. Mendoza has two centuries of tradition in winemaking, and this history has produced a local know-how based on collective knowledge of this grape and its relation with the local environment. Mendoza wines have distinctive characteristics based on soil, topography, climate, landscape and biodiversity.
Science, Intuition & Nature
Our Terroir work is based on a very extensive and patient endeavor. Over the course of two decades Alberto Antonini and Attilio Pagli have worked with the majority of the wineries of the region, and have tasted hundreds of thousands of Malbecs from every possible site of Mendoza. This enormous screening process has fueled the subsequent soil and morphology work of Pedro Parra, which has now, after five years of trial and error, led us to the first draft of our Mendoza Terroirs Map. Precision agriculture, aerial pictures, vigor maps and so forth, are all science tools that greatly help the Terroir work.
Intuition guides our search when we taste and science helps our understanding when we try to understand the plant and rule out false explanations. Cooperation with nature is our creed as viticulturists, applying natural and biodynamic methods to enhance life in the soil, and health in the plants.