The stones, the magic of the extreme and the house that never was
It was 2007 and we still had not found the land that, for four years, we had been looking for. We had the idea of building a house with a garden and two hectares of vineyards in the Calchaquí Valleys. We started to see something a little bigger, and just at that moment we were offered a fraction of the Carreras valley at the Tacuil farm. The charm of this particular valley at 2,500 meters surrounded by imposing mountains made the project’s course change immediately; It was an opportunity that could not be missed, to make a top quality wine, and that idea seduced us. Clearly the project was not the same and, we still did not know, but neither did our lives. We were able to buy 100 hectares: 20 are suitable for vineyards, with granite sand soils totally free of salts; the rest are hills, and it also has an old dam.
And we began to study what we should do. On a first trip to Mendoza to see nurseries and see the availability of plants, we came back with the idea of planting in high density; It seemed to us that such a special place deserved a unique vineyard.
Today Altupalka Extremo has fourteen hectares of Malbec (7,400 plants / ha) and two hectares of Sauvignon Blanc (5,400 plants / ha) Merlot, Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir.
The place does not have electricity, so in order to irrigate, we had to double the volume and depth of the dam. This allows us to drip irrigation without using any motor, only by gravity.
While we were planning what to do with this new project, a second chance appeared: my friend Rodolfo Lávaque offered me a land in a privileged area of Cafayate, on the road to Yacochuya. It was very difficult to resist the temptation: forty hectares in one of the best areas of Cafayate. The task was doubled, especially because after doing a manual clearing and building a 220-meter deep well, which would definitely change the appearance of this desert, they appeared: the stones. From that moment, it was almost two years of battle until the soil was left in a condition to receive life, which came in the form of vine fallows.
Currently, there are eleven hectares of high-density Malbec (5,400 plants / ha) and nine hectares of Torrontés in vineyards. This, which seemed the easiest farm due to its proximity to Cafayate, turned out to be extremely difficult to plant, although now its management is easier.
– And the House? -Fine, thanks!
This project, which was intended for relaxation and dolce far niente, became a project full of passion and a lot of work.
In 2014 we presented our first wines in the high altitude wine salons in Salta, Córdoba and Buenos Aires, and we also started their commercialization. These are: Altupalka Malbec Extremo, Altupalka Malbec-Malbec and Altupalka Sauvignon Blanc Extremo. Today we also offer the market Altupalka Malbec-Malbec-Tannat, and soon we will launch a trivarietal that if you liked our line of wines, we are sure that you will love it.
It is very important to highlight the support of the whole family; Without each of them, this would not have been possible. My parents, Ricardo and Graciela, unconditional in their support; Luciana, my wife; and my four children, Sofía, María, Lucía and Alejandro, committed to the project, each one with their professions and skills.
Alejandro Martorell, owner of Bodega Altupalka