Southern latitude, 17 hours of daylight and grape-and-icicle-draped vineyards in summer paint a vivid picture of extremity in Trevelin, the newest addition to Argentina’s GI (Geographical Indication) collection.
Trevelin is located between 43°07”S and 43°18”S in Futaleufú department in the northwest of Chubut Province, Patagonia. Its approval, granted on 6 August, presents a welcome boost for this nascent wine region.
Currently just 12ha are dedicated to vineyard cultivation, although there’s an additional – and vast – 35,988ha to play around with. (For comparison, San Pablo, the 2019-designated Mendoza GI, covers 4,300 ha.)
While Trevelin’s northern frontier is formed naturally by the Futaleufú River and Los Alerces National Park, Andean mountains at a 600m marker to the south shape a fertile valley – where Welsh migrants used to raise cattle in the 19th century. The Chilean border is just 12km away from pioneering local winery Casa Yagüe, with the Pacific Ocean lying 88km beyond that.
Trevelin climate and grapes
Besides its unique southern location and 300-400m elevation, Trevelin has summers with 17 hours of daylight. During summer the diurnal temperature variation ranges from over 30°C in the day to 0°C at night.
Climate wise, marked seasonal cycles include frost, rain (600-1,000mm on average annually, depending where you are in the valley) and regular snowfall between April and August.
Harvest takes place in April and May, and powerful drip irrigation is used to combat frost, creating an unusual icy vista even in summer.
Cool-climate-loving white grapes dominate, such as Chardonnay, Semillon, Gewüztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Marsanne.
Trevelin whites stand out for their intense natural acidity and relatively low alcohol, between 11% abv and 12% abv. Vintners are also turning their hand to Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc.
While agriculture has always been part of the landscape, Trevelin Valley recently adopted its winemaking identity in 2012 and today is home to three bodegas.
Marcelo Yagüe and Patricia Ferrari of Bodega Casa Yagüe Vinos Australes brought in an agronomist, then planted 4ha in 2014, giving Trevelin its first successful vintage three years later. The couple spearheaded the region’s GI campaign.
Viñas del Nant y Fall and Contra Corriente complete the Trevelin trio, backed up by around seven grape producers.