The grapes to produce the Torrontés Riesling Calchaquí Valley Amalaya went through a double selection process, firstly in the vineyard and then again on the sorting table at the winery. The grapes are pressed without any maceration. A slow fermentation took place using selected yeasts, for around 30 days at a controlled temperature of 14°C, which helped to retain the varietal fruit character. The wine was aged in stainless steel tanks for three months before a further two months in bottle.
The Torrontés and Riesling grapes were grown on the Finca San Isidoro and Finca Las Mercedes vineyards. These are located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaqui Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate here is very dry, with just 150mm of rain in an average year and a huge diurnal temperature change 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 in turn results in a huge concentration of flavour within the fruit.
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.