Decero, meaning ‘from scratch’, was born of a bare patch of land and a family’s love affair with wine. Winemaking in Thomas Schmidheiny’s family goes back to his grandparents in Switzerland and, just as Napa had inspired his mother Adda in the 1970s, so too did the Agrelo sub-appellation in Mendoza capture the heart and mind of Thomas when traveling over the Andes into Argentina 20 years later. In Agrelo, perhaps now considered the source of Argentina’s finest red wines, Thomas instinctively knew that he had found the place to continue the family legacy and to handcraft wines whose allure would lie in being true to their origin. Once a desolate piece of land in the foothills of the Andes, absent of everything but shrubs, Finca Decero is now a one-of-a-kind vineyard where each vine is nurtured by hand and the winemaking is without compromise.The estate has followed an ‘amano’, or ‘by hand’, approach that is sensitive to natural differences, sustainable, and human. Their philosophy is to tread lightly in an environment they have come to know intimately, almost inch-by-inch, and allow the unique natural attributes of the Remolinos vineyard and of Agrelo shine to through in the wines. The vineyard at the estate is named “Remolinos” after the tiny whirlwinds in the area that thread their way along the vines, keeping the grapes dry and in perfect condition. The 110 hectare estate was planted in 2000 to Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot (unusual for Argentine producers) and Tannat. All the Decero wines come from this single vineyard, all from hand-picked fruit.After being sorted twice on sorting tables, first cluster selection and then berry selection, the grapes are gently gravity fed into small wide tanks which ensure maximum benefits of skin contact during maceration. Maceration begins with a cold soak and continues for 30-35 days. After fermentation (which is done partially with indigenous yeasts), and through the barrel aging process, all lots are kept separate until blending of the final wines, to ensure optimal monitoring of individual lot qualities. There is then a separate, temperature-controlled room for malolactic fermentation, which takes place in barrel. Aging is in 100% French oak, in a combination of Sylvain, Saury, Taransaud, Demptos, and Seguin-Moreau. The wines are nurtured through the winery and finally blended by winemaker Marcos Fernandez with consultant winemaker Paul Hobbs.
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