A week in Mendoza just flew by … although South America is heading into Fall, we lucked out and had sunny weather the entire time! The colors of these vines against an incredibly blue sky was just breathtaking.
THEIR STORY …
Our Winery is just a small place at the feet of Cordón del Plata, a formation part of The Andes, at the Uco Valley, heart of the province of Mendoza. But, what is La Azul? And maybe more important, how is that we end making wines? Why do we like to make wines? The answers for all of these questions take us long time ago. For generations, since Francisco Hinojosa arrived to these lands, more than 60 years ago, we have cultivated the vine aiming to produce high quality wine, but it was not until this century that the dream of generations became true and finally La Azul Winery was born. It was in 2003 that we saw the first bottle of our own winery, the first bottle of our vines, in the land that our grandfathers have discovered. A land now full of vines drove in espaliers with different kinds of irrigation systems, full of technology and machinery… It is difficult for the youngest to imagine that here in the Uco Valley, when our grandparents arrived, there was absolutely nothing, just sand and rocks and some streams, dried in winter, roughly habitable. It is difficult to imagine how hard they tried and tasted different plants: olives, nuts, apples, pears, vegetables… the vine.
Thanks to this tradition that we have inherited today we can produce our own grapes, which we consider is fundamental for making a good wine. Without this cornerstone of excellent terroir, with passion cared, in vain is the technology that comes to complete it. As we produce small amounts of wine, we have a maximum control of each stainless-steel tank and of each barrel. They are in charge of caring inside them the whole process of the wine; meanwhile the team of La Azul controls temperature, mix the wine in the tanks, do tastings in order to decide the blends from the barrels. That are our three main bases to do what we love: with raw material of excellent quality, technology in the production, and care and passion in everyday works.
And as everybody in the family of La Azul loves the wine, we have challenged ourselves to make different varieties for different tastes: a line of young wines without oak, varietals (Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc); another line with more intense aromas and tannins, La Azul Reserva, with between twelve and fifteen months in French and American oak barrels. And also our Icon line: La Azul Gran Reserva, with two years of aging in French and American oak barrels, blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, and La Azul Gran Syrah (100% Syrah). We are lucky to count on with Flavia Manterola, winemaker of the house, who is in charge of the production of all our red wines; and with Fabricio Orlando, than help us with the white wines elaboration.
The winery has a capacity of 59.000 liters in stainless steel tanks. The line of varietals will end its way in the bottle, after the tanks; the Reserva and Gran Reserva lines will go to the barrels (70% of French oak, 30% of American oak), that with its different toasts and aromas change with subtlety the wine that sleeps inside them.
This is our history. Our passion is to grow grapes, to make wines, and also, of course, to drink it, to enjoy it and to return it to its original stand: la fiesta. With this in mind, Ezequiel Fadel Hinojosa has his own project in La Azul: the Restó. We invite you to come here and see our winery, taste our wines, have a meal with us watching The Andes, giant, full of snow, reflecting in all of his terraces the mighty sun of midday.
I cannot say enough about this family-owned vineyard and bodega (I kinda went all “local” there…..) Ivan kept peeking around the corner to see if we were done … not for 5 hours!!!
The food is local, farm-to-table and rockin’ good! The wines are amazing. But, the hospitality was inspiring. We should all welcome people so lovingly! I cannot wait to go back (probably not until my alcohol blood level goes back down …)