The Wine Route in the Argentine Northwest, more precisely in Salta, comprises the region of the Calchaquí Valleys. There a subtle combination of climate and terroir gives rise to high quality wines.
In this region the cultivation of the vine was introduced by the Jesuits in the 18th century. The first vineyards brought from Peru were those that took root "four leagues from the town of Molinos" on the La Bodega estate, today La Angostura, where 200 hectares of vineyards were cultivated, now disappeared, property that was successively by Indalecio Gómez (father), by Juan Uriburu, Sanchez Isasmendi, Luis Patron Costas and today by Ramón Rodó.
After that first missionary experience, other pioneers came in the art of wine, such as Mrs. Carmen Diez de Frías, owner of the winery, "La Industria", in the mid-19th century; Tomás, Francisco and Basile Peñalba, owners of "El Recreo"; Silverio and José Antonio Chavarría in "La Banda" and "La Rosa", all from Cafayate, and Mrs. Gabriela Torino de Michel, from Tolombón.
Something more than 100 years had passed since the proclamation of Independence, so that between 1910 and 1920 the brothers David and Salvador Michel were looking for auspicious lands to settle down and try their luck with something they were excited about: making wine. Thus, they acquire the Peñalba brothers "El Recreo", and before 1930 "La Banda" and "La Rosa" the Chavarría brothers.
From there, the history of the wineries of Michel Torino, says that knowing that they were more than 1,700 meters high, "the highest lands should be destined for the finest strains." They were the perfect coordinate to achieve unique wines.
Then more winemakers arrived and the wine culture took root forever in Salta. There they found the optimum height for the vineyards, lands with the dreamed slopes, and a floor of stones and sand wetted by the water that came down from the mountains.
With the experience of working in the first high vineyards, the vineyards were able to ensure that 350 days of sunshine ripen the clusters annually. And they observed the great thermal amplitude of that region, which in summer days rises to 38 degrees Celsius and drops to 12 during the night.
When wine and tourism began to be promoted together, the "Wine Route" was born in Salta, a circuit that begins in the capital, crosses the villages of the Lerma Valley and continues through the Caclchaqui Valley ending in Cafayate.
Here the Torrontés strain matures, white wine that is distinguished by its intense fruity aroma and flavor. This variety has reached a unique expression in Salta soil, becoming the flagship white grape of our country.
Today the vineyards cover more than 1800 hectares between the surroundings of the towns of Cafayate, San Carlos, Angastaco, Molinos and Cachi, all of them in the Calchaquí Valleys. Among the red strains, which occupy more than 55% of the total cultivated area, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Tannat, Bonarda, Syrah, Barbera and Tempranillo stand out.
In recent years the industry has experienced great growth and development favoring the production of extraordinary quality wines, recognized in international markets and competitions. The quality and particularity of high-rise wines from Salta is the result of the combination of the privileged conditions of the terroir and technological innovation, added to the dedication and knowledge of the producers. One of the most influential factors is the height of the valleys in which the vineyards are located. This not only favors the great thermal amplitude, but the sun's rays are more intense and the air, more pure and dry. The combination of these factors added to the peculiar characteristics of the soil and its components, allow to achieve wines of great character, strong personality and excellent quality, with distinctive aromas, colors and flavors.