Finca Las Nubes – Jose L. Mounier
High valley of Cafayate, in Salta Province a short 5 KM uphill drive from Cafayate city toward the foothills. After leaving the tranquil streets of downtown Cafayate, travelers meander along a dessert dirt road until a pink adobe building begins to peer over the top of trellised vineyards, from far off in the distance. The José Mounier Winery – Finca las Nubes sits at 5,400 feet above sea level, ensconced between the rolling hills and fields of vineyards that blanket the region.
In 1995 José Luís Mounier, a Mendoza-born winemaker, purchased a mere 5 hectares of land, and four years later he broke ground by planting the first grapevines. Such a small farm is unusual for a winery, but it was all a part of Jose’s vision for a project founded upon quality wines. Today the winery is a relatively small producer, crafting approximately 50,000 bottles of wine annually, the majority of which is destined to be sold within Argentina, though the winery does handle small exportations to the US and Switzerland.
According to the winery’s manifesto, the Jose L. Mounier Winery “words to obtain a healthy, mature, and concentrated grape, so that the wine in the glass reflects the potential of the Northern Region, the character of the varietal, the tipicity of the terroir and the particular style of the winery.”
Given Salta’s exceptional climate, with approximately 340 days of sunlight and 150 mm of precipitation annually, the tasting guide commented that the wines are grown in “nearly organic conditions.” Thanks to poor soils and no humidity, grapevines are able to grow without the use of chemical treatments and additives, that is, most of the time.
Every year in March the winery and Mounier family plays host to a vendimia festival (harvest festival) hosted on the Finca Las Nubes property. The day-long festival draws in local winemakers, wine enthusiasts, and international wine travels who are interested in getting their hands dirty and living the harvest first-hand.
In the end, visitors to Finca Las Nubes are treated to an experience unlike any other: the artistry of a Mendoza winemaker, stunning vistas of Salta’s rugged terrain, and the warmth of a family-run winery that stands for quality above all else.
Recommended wine to try:
Though it’s not included on the standard wine tasting menu, visitors should not miss the opportunity to pick up a bottle of the Laguna Brava 2010 Torrontes. It is a torrontes that is both fermented and aged in oak barrels, a process that allow every glass to exhibit unique elegance, complexity, and creamy finish that makes for a truly unique expression of this varietal.
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