Amalaya translates as ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí. The winery is situated in the Calchaquí Valley in Salta, in the far north of Argentina, at 1,828 metres above sea level. It is a part of Hess Family Wine Estates and is run with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other Hess estate in the region: Bodega Colomé.
Amalaya has 80 hectares planted with Malbec, Torrontés, Riesling, Tannat, Petit Verdot, Bonarda, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot, with another 40 hectares in development. The grapes are sourced from three vineyards: ‘Finca Las Mercedes’ (with deep sandy soils); ‘Finca San Isidro’ (with rocky soils); and ‘Finca Amalaya’ (fractured rocky soils and stones of varying sizes). Like the wines of Bodega Colomé, the grapes benefit from being planted at altitude. The vines are drip irrigated using mountain run-off water that is stored in reservoirs because the average annual rainfall is only 150mm.
The red wines are fermented in small concrete tanks, while the white wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks. For the Torrontés/Riesling, the Torrontés contributes weight and aroma and the Riesling gives freshness and citrus notes to the blend. The Malbec has a touch of spice alongside intense berry aromas, as 25% of the wine was aged in second use French oak for eight months. The ‘Gran Corte’ is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Tannat. It is aged in French and American second and third use oak barrels for 12 months. The wine has a vibrant character of red fruit and blackberry which accompany vanilla spice and supple tannins.
All of the Amalaya wines are fruit driven in style, with a finesse that unites them. These wines offer incredible value for their quality, and truly reflect their ‘sense of place’.