This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Argentinian Red Bordeaux Varietal over £15 went to El Esteco, Serie Fincas Notables Cabernet Sauvignon, Salta 2012 (15%)

Tasted against:

  • Andeluna, Pasionado Cabernet Franc, Tupungato, Mendoza 2010
  • Bodega Sumun, Almarada Cabernet Sauvignon, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2011


The name El Esteco alludes to a local Salta legend surrounding a lost city. The actual location of the winery that shares its name is almost as impressive. Founded in 1892 by French immigrants David and Salvador Michel and built at 1,800m altitude, it draws its fruit from vineyards in Cafayate – a strip of desert in Calchaquí of low mineral content with poor, rocky soils. The vines are stressed as a result, giving a low yield of concentrated fruit, which benefits from perfect cooling night breezes lending perfect conditions for a long, even growing season.

Winemaker Alejandro Pepa says the Fincas Notables Cabernet ‘represents our winery’s best – the perfect fusion between nature’s wisdom, patience and the team’s daily hard work’. The fruit comes not only from a single vineyard, La Urquiza, but from a single, 52-year old parcel within it (no9), which yielded 10,000 bottles of this 2012 Trophy-winner. Many of the pickers are old hands who have come to know these venerable Cabernet vines well from vintage to vintage, so are necessarily selective with individual bunches while treating them with respect, picking at dawn into 18kg boxes to ensure paramount fruit quality.

Written by Decanter