The grapes to produce the Malbec Calchaquí Valley Amalaya underwent a four day cold maceration. Fermentation at a controlled temperature of 26°C followed with maceration on the skins, which lasted between 15-20 days, to extract good levels of colour and tannins. Malolactic conversion then took place in stainless steel tanks to give the wine greater balance. It was then racked to both stainless steel tanks (75%) and used barrels (25%) to undergo an eight month ageing period prior to blending and bottling.
The estate’s vineyards are located in Cafayate in the very heart of the Calchaquí Valley, distinguished for being one of the highest wine regions in the world at 1700 metres above sea level. The climate is very dry, with just 150 millimetres of rain in an average year and huge diurnal temperature fluctuations of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which results in fruit with hugely concentrated flavour.
Amalaya translates as ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí. The winery is situated in the Calchaquí Valley in Salta, in the far north of Argentina, at 1,828 metres above sea level. It is a part of Hess Family Wine Estates and is run with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other Hess estate in the region: Bodega Colomé. Amalaya has 80 hectares planted with Malbec, Torrontés, Riesling, Tannat, Petit Verdot, Bonarda, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot, with another 40 hectares in development. The grapes are sourced from three vineyards: ‘Finca Las Mercedes’ (with deep sandy soils); ‘Finca San Isidro’ (with rocky soils); and ‘Finca Amalaya’ (fractured rocky soils and stones of varying sizes). Like the wines of Bodega Colomé, the grapes benefit from being planted at altitude. The vines are drip irrigated using mountain run-off water that is stored in reservoirs because the average annual rainfall is only 150mm.