“A good example of when innovation pays off, this blend is an appealing match of opposites. Viognier contributes to a rich yet elegant bouquet and restrains Tannat natural vigour; the wine is profound, with a light grip of tanning to add character.”– Paula Pivel and Alvaro Lorenzo, Owners
85% Tannat/ 15% Viognier. The vines are managed very carefully and with very low yield, achieving an excellent concentration of the grapes. Picking is done by hand, in small boxes. The skins of the Viognier are added to the Tannat grapes and together they macerate at a low temperature for three days. After fermenting at controlled a temperature, the wine was aged for nine months in American oak barrels. To preserve its qualities, the wine was lightly filtered when bottled.
HISTORY OF ALTO DE LA BALLENA
In 1998, the spouses Paula Pivel and Alvaro Lorenzo decided to set up a small winery in the department of Maldonado, in south east Uruguay.
With no more experience than that of being wine enthusiasts, they immediately got down to the task of finding the right site that would combine location, beautiful landscape and proper conditions for wine-growing.
The choice of the terroir to plant the vineyards was crucial; topography, soil and climate had to be considered, to ensure an excellent quality of grapes, essential for the production of high-quality wines.
Several months of searching, with consultancy and studies, paid off. In the year 2000 they bought almost 20 hectares on the Sierra de la Ballena, a few kilometers from the sea and Punta del Este, the largest seaside resort in South America.
The first vines were planted in the spring of 2001, continuing in the following two years until reaching 8 hectares. The vineyards include Merlot, Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Viognier varieties.
In the year 2005 the first harvest was obtained, and in 2007 the first wines were released to the market.
Currently, Alto de la Ballena’ wines are sold in specialized stores, gourmet spaces and in the best Uruguayan restaurants, mainly in Montevideo and Punta del Este. They are also available in Mexico, Brazil and Sweden, and will soon be in the United States, Belgium, Switzerlad and Argentina.