UNESCO¬†World Heritage Centre¬†Quebrada de Humahuaca in Jujuy can now add¬†Geographical Indication (indicaci√≥n geogr√°fica, IG) to its accolades.
Thus named by Argentina’s¬†INV vitiviniculture institute in October, the Quebrada is a¬†170-km canyon that runs north south in Argentina’s northwest province that borders Bolivia.
Not only is the¬†new¬†status remarkable due to its¬†23¬į26‚Ä≤14.0‚Ä≥ latitude (Mendoza’s¬†vineyards are planted at around 33¬ļ, more or less), but also because of the insane¬†range in¬†altitude. Starting at 1,230 metres above sea level (masl), this new UNESCO-protected GI soars to 3,700 masl. It’s also classified as desert, thanks to its piddly 150mm annual rainfall. The Inca trail runs through here; llamas also call it home.
I’ve travelled this area extensively for guide book research and it’s one of Argentina’s most exciting to visit. Rich in history and culture, dusty yet vibrant towns such as Purmamarca, Tilcara and¬†Humahuaca date back to pre-Columbian times; they¬†don’t exactly smack of classic vineyard terroir.
Driving alongside R√≠o¬†Grande, which brims with racing currents in summer, the landscape is craggy rock formations and cardon cacti.
In 2014, I stayed at Hotel Huacalera, on the Tropic of Capricorn. I awoke to llamas in the garden and curious clouds sticking to R√≠o Grande. ¬†And it’s on this crazy latitude that Calchaqu√≠ Valley’s Bodega Tukma is sourcing badass grapes that grow at 2,670 masl to create Argentina’s most unusual¬†Sauvignon Blanc.
Here are two of my fave Jujuy wines, that now get to add GI¬†Quebrada de Humahuaca to their labels.
2.670, Sauvignon Blanc 2014,¬†Bodega Tukma, Huacalera, IG Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy. 13.5%. 120 pesos. Serve at 10¬ļC-12¬ļC.
This 500ml baby got me high in an altitude way of course, when I tried it one steamy summer afternoon in Cafayate last¬†February. It’s pure green: peas, green bell pepper and asparagus make up the nose.
A¬†savoury mouthful awaits, badass acidity balances it out. I love this wine. ¬†I love its originality, so unlike the tropical or citrus SB in Argentina. Production is small, hence the 500ml bottle. And I love the fact it comes from a place as curious as Huacalera in Jujuy, from 2,670 masl. Now that’s high altitude.¬†Try it with a¬†goat’s cheese and arugula¬†salad.
Rosa de Maimar√° 2014, Bodega Fernando Dupont, Maimar√°,¬†IG¬†Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy.¬†15.8%, 179 pesos. Serve¬†at 10¬ļC-12¬ļC.
It’s a blend made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Its alcohol is a whopping 15.8% (thanks, sunshine and altitude).
It’s fruit and smoke and flowers all together, a wonderful and crazy combination that will get you in a tizz.
It’s so intense, you might feel like you’re suddenly in a relationship with this wine. Like, you’re an item, together. And you’ll definitely fall head over heels with it. Until it’s over. And like a spurned lover (or drug addict), you’ll want more. And more. (You’ve been warned.)
Exceptional. Enjoy it, just the two of you. Or pair almost anything with it, especially a man-size¬†bife de chorizo. Swoon.
Ph: Sorrel Moseley-Williams,¬†Bodega Fernando Dupont