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International Trophy winner Dry Aromatic under £15 – El Esteco, Amaru High Vineyards Torrontés, Calchaquí Valley, Salta, Argentina 2014 (13.5%)

A ripe, generous and aromatic nose with notes of peach, lychee and mandarin. The fruit is generous and sweet, with the palate boasting pineapple and further stone fruit flavours. Showing real character, bright acidity and a long, energising finish, this is a great-value introduction to the variety.
Not available in the UK or USA

Two years and two DWWA International Trophies for this producer, which has has become a standard-bearer for the high vineyards of the Calchaquí Valley, in Argentina’s Salta region. Last year it was the Don David Reserve Tannat 2012 that triumphed, but this year the winning wine is almost its polar opposite: a highly aromatic and expressive Torrontés.

El Esteco was also the most awarded Argentinian winery in last year’s Decanter World Wine Awards – and the success in both years is a significant advance in the estate’s mission to create awareness about the Calchaquí Valley’s unique natural attributes.The region, El Esteco strongly believes, is the best in the world for growing the aromatic Torrontés grape.

Why? It may be partly the altitude – more than 1,700m above sea level – and partly the continental desert climate. Whatever the factors behind its success, the result is a wine with great concentration and high-intensity aromas and flavours.

_MG_8099El Esteco winemaker Alejandro Pepa

To put its vision into practice, El Esteco believes in minimal intervention, allowing the terroir of the valley and the purity of the fruit to speak for themselves in the wines.

For fourth-generation winemaker Alejandro Pepa, whose vinous heritage spans the Old and New Worlds, wine started out as pure fun: helping with the harvest and winemaking, blending and tasting. ‘It was all just a game when I was a child,’ he recalls. ‘However, little by little, the playing turned into working and here I am now, lucky enough to be doing what I love for a living.’

9S2C2104The high-altitude vineyards of the Calchaqui Valley

Tasted against

There were no other Regional Trophies tasted in this category.

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