Bodega Colomé was established in 1831 and is the oldest working winery in Argentina with one of the world’s highest vineyards.
Perhaps because of this great tradition, which is allied to the dynamism it displays today, Bodega Colomé was chosen by Tim Atkin as one of his ‘First Growths’ in the classification of Argentinian wineries he made for his 2018 Argentina Report.
The winery is located in the far north of Argentina in the Upper Calchaquí Valley and is thought to have been founded by the Spanish Governor of Salta, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. In 1854, his daughter Ascensión, brought the first French pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Bodega Colomé. The three vineyards (with an area of four hectares each) were planted in the same year - the fruit from which is still used to make wines.
There are currently 140 hectares planted at altitudes of between 2,300 and 3,111 metres above sea level. The grapes are sourced from four vineyards: ‘La Brava’ (at 1,750 metres) in Cafayate, ‘Colomé’ (2,300 metres) surrounding the winery, ‘El Arenal’ (2,600 metres) and ‘Altura Máxima’ (3,111 metres). Both ‘El Arenal’ and ‘Altura Máxima’ are located in the Payogasta area. Grapes grown at high altitudes have thicker skins in order to protect them from the intense ultraviolet rays. As a result, the wines have more colour, aroma, flavours and antioxidants from the increased phenolics. The altitude also contributes to a wide diurnal temperature range of more than 20°C. The warmth of the day ripens the grapes and the coolness of the night preserves acidity and fragrance.
Torrontés is the signature white variety of Argentina and is a cross between Muscat of Alexandria and the Mission grape of Galicia. It thrives in Salta, where the climate is cooler. Bodega Colomé’s Torrontés is grown using the pergola system at very low yields to ensure good concentration of aromas and flavours. Bodega Colomé’s ‘Estate’ Malbec is hand harvested into small 12 kilogram boxes. Half of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in French barrels and 100% of the wine is aged for 15 months in oak, both new and second use. Colomé’s ‘Auténtico’ - a pure expression of Malbec - is sourced from their 90-year-old vineyards at 2,300 metres above sea level. Fruit for the ‘Altura Máxima’ Malbec is sourced from the single vineyard of the same name, the highest vineyard in South America at 3,111 metres above sea level. These extreme conditions have produced a powerfully aromatic and intense wine which is one of the country’s finest examples of premium Malbec.