Spoiler alert: I could kill for that Pinot Noir!
This bodega comes to me as a surprise. Literally! Let’s do a bit of story telling here before I give you the hard facts and a tour of the bodega.
One sunny morning I take the bus from Mendoza to Tupungato to meet Javier Aller who is supposed to show me his wine and where he makes it. When I get off the bus Javier is already waiting for me and with him a friend, Diego, who turns out to be our translator. What a great surprise and thank God for that! The next surprise comes a few minutes later: Javier drives pass Bodega del Tupun, the oldest winery in the region, as he explains, and drives right into their parking lot where apparently he arranged a tour for me by winemaker Ariel Angelini. I am thrilled and excited when greeted by Ariel and even more thrilled and excited once we enter the old bodega building that dates back to the 1920s. Javier later shows me his wine production as well, this I will tell you in another blog post.
Let’s start with the hard facts, quick and dirty, about Bodega del Tupun before I give you the tour:
- Founded in the 1920’s, which makes the Bodega del Tupun one of the oldest bodegas in the region. Wow!
- Currently owned and run by the Pelegrina family. Who I haven’t met but i was told they are very nice.
- 200 hecaters planted with vineyards at 900 m to 1500 m above sea level. Which is good for the grapes because they are exposed to very hot days and quite cool night. Good for growing and developing acidity.
- Production of six million liters wine per year. That’s a hell of a lot!
- 60% of the produced wine stays in the country, 40% is exported to countries like UK, China, USA, Poland.
- grape varieties grown: Malbec (of course), Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Bonarda. Torrontes and Semillon for white wine and champagne.
- And a little secret at the end: winemaker Ariel is currently experimenting with Syrah and a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc. Don’t tell anyone!
And now I would like to invite you on a tour of Bodega del Tupun. Enjoy!
As we enter the bodega we find ourselves literally on alleys of huge concrete tanks that seem to go on and on and on…
These tanks are full of this year’s Malbec…
Ariel pours us some of the fresh Malbec and we are delighted! It’s young and fresh, full of fruit, yet already with a nice structure and body.
For a full on wine experience, Ariel invites us to spend some time inside the tank. Well, it’s dark and cold and ok but I prefer the wine to be in there not me.
Next we taste Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon (with a tiny little bit Cabernet Franc in it) from 2014. The wines have been in the barells for just the right amount of time and are ready to be bottled soon.
I would like introduce the Pinot Noir to you. This wine is my highlight of the tour at Bodega Tupun. A very strong cherry aroma meets your nose and continues in the mouth. With a long finish and really good balance! I love it! Please, Ariel, save some bottles for me!
We continue the tour with some tasting of the Bonarda grape variety that Ariel will blend with some Malbec for the Gran Reserva. The bodega’s top wine.
Please do yourself a favour and have a look at this colour. The photo doesn’t really capture it. This is the Bonarda grape and it’s colour is so meaty, it’s like a good steak and so is the taste. Full, meaty, intense body and aromas.
I would also like to share this Sauvignon Blanc late harvest with you. Rich in colour, as you can see, also in alcohol, which I could taste, and full of ripe apricot, sweet melon and honey flavours. It is in my top three of Tupun wines. Although it’s hard to market and sell late harvest wines here in Argentina, I really hope that people will start appreciating sweet wines more. Let’s start a huge marketing campaign for sweet white wines!
Our tour is coming to an end and there is no better picture for me that exhibits the philosophy of Bodega del Tupun and their winemaker Ariel. Ariel really loves his work and is passionate about every grape and every drop he produces. And I’m telling you, you can taste this in the wines!
We would like to say goodbye from Bodega del Tupun in Tupungato, this time out of another tank. It has been a great experience for me and I am deeply thankful for the hospitality and kindness I experienced and the things I learned at Bodega del Tupun. Thank you Ariel Angelini for making this such a great experience!