In 2015 Agustin Lanus was approached by the indigenous people of Amaicha del Valle, Argentina to help them with their new winery.
Members of the Los Amaichas community, with government assistance, had built a winery by hand out of the local rocks but had no experience in winemaking on anything other than a family-sized scale.
With just three weeks before the beginning of harvest, and with the winery still under construction, Agustin, who by now had fallen in love with the philosophy, motivation and the special energy of the valley and the community, agreed to join the community’s effort as its winemaker.
Today the community’s winery, only one of three indigenous owned wineries in the world and the only one in Latin America, is in full operation producing SUMAK KAWSAY, a classic Malbec, and CRIOLLA, both made from grapes harvested from 40 small family plots (from .4 to 1 Has) at extreme altitudes in Tucuman, Argentina.
The name SUMAK KAWSAY translates to “Living a Good Life” in the local Quechua dialect, a testament to the respect the Los Amaichas have for Pachamama, the Andean goddess worshiped as the source of Water, Earth, Sun and Moon. The symbols for each are presented on the wine label.
The wines are produced from 40 small (1/4 to 1 hectare) family owned vineyards harvested by hand by members of the Los Amaichas community. The vineyards are located at 2,200 meters above sea level in Tucuman province, Argentina.
The poor soils, wide temperature variations and long maturation time due to the extreme altitude produce a very hardy grape.
The grapes express an intense and concentrated juice with strong flavors that allow the winemaker to craft a highly structured and aromatic wine with freshness that comes from natural acidity.
Winemaking. The grapes are hand-harvested with 50% of the wine aged 15 months in tank with 5% French oak staves, and 50% in used French Oak barrels. The 2015 vintage resulted in a limited production of 15,000 bottles.
Tasting Notes: An intensely aromatic wine with scents of cherry, dried fruits and graphite, with notes of honey and chocolate from long barrel aging. In keeping with the traditional methods of the winemaking, SUMAK KAWSAY Malbec is not filtered or clarified and therefore may contain residue.
Dom: Calchaqui Valley, Argentina
Alc: 14.5% by Vol
2015 Vintage limited production 15,000 bottles.
2016 Vintage, coming (month), limited production XXXXX bottles.
The Los Amaichas community with the assistance of Agustin also produce Criolla, made from the Criolla chica grapes first brought to Argentina by the Spanish conquistadors, making it the original Argentinean wine.
The Criolla variety has been grown in Amaicha for more than 400 years, with the ancestral plants located in the gardens of families of the Los Amaichas indigenous community. The wine is made naturally with methods used by the community over the centuries.
Winemaking. Elaboration as red wine, with maceration of 3 weeks, fermented in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. No oak is used and no additive other than metabisulfite. The wine is aged 14 months in stainless steel tank and 12 month in bottle.
Tasting Notes: Very aromatic, red fruits like strawberries as well as dates, dry roses, some spicy notes. A rustic but high quality and very unique wine that must be tasted to be understood.
Dom: Calchaqui Valley, Argentina
Vintage 2015: Very limited production of 1500 bottles.
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