Winery Colomé, 1831 harvest

157 km from Cachi, nestled in an impeccable and hidden nook of the Calchaquíes valleys, Colomé jealously grows the most ancient vines in the country.

Cafayate introduced itself with its usual appearance: the bright sun over the vineyards and the quiet streets.

We left at about 9 in the morning. We have been warned that the road to Colomé will not be easy and we should be there by lunch.

20 km from the district of Molinos, Colomé was created as an encomienda in the year 1831 by the last Spanish governor of Salta, Nicolás Isasmendi de Echalar. Twenty-three years later, his daughter Ascensión, married to José Benjamín Dávalos, planted malbec and cabernet sauvignon vines brought from France.

Tacuil and Colomé, which until 3 years ago were still in the hands of the original heirs, are fruit of such vines. In the year 2001, Raúl Dávalos sold Colomé, the most ancient working winery in the country to the Swiss group Hess.

  • Nestled in an impeccable and hidden nook

    Nestled in an impeccable and hidden nook

  • Under the Shade of the Molles

    Under the Shade of the Molles

  • A relaxed atmosphere is breathed

    A relaxed atmosphere is breathed

  • A warm place

    A warm place

  • original building

    original building

  • A place to stay

    A place to stay

  • Welcome to Colome

    Welcome to Colome


Under the Shade of the Molles

The sun and the height subjugate both the landscape and life in the Calchaquíes Valleys. We leave the small 400-inhabitant settlement and continue our way towards the estancia. We are welcomed by Joshua, a friendly German that has been in the estate for a few weeks.

Colomé comprises thirty-nine thousand hectares located 2,300 meters over sea level; the impassive snow-capped mountains of Cachi can be watched from its terraces.

The terracotta of the estancia imitates the Andean geography, surrounded by the vines that have just been harvested. Around the central yard, the nine rooms, where every single detail is taken care of, are totally equipped to pamper the visitor, and are complemented by the gaucho bar, a meditation room and a conference room, as well as a swimming pool and a putting green.

By the year 2006, an art museum of the prestigious Hess collection will be opened to display four decades of James Turrell’s artistic creation by exhibiting his work with light in 1,500m2. Colomé is always surprising us.

We strolled about the north wing, which dates back from the original building, and which opens into a terrace protected by two ancient molles. According to the story, in the days of the “loco” Dávalos, his strong branches would help the people from the house see who was approaching the facilities and, if it was not a friend, they would be welcomed by the dogs. Today, under their refreshing shade, only a relaxed atmosphere is breathed, which I continued to enjoy from the open gallery, where the table was already laid for lunch.


We shared the table with Úrsula, Donald’s wife, her mother and Alexandra Hess, who is following her father’s steps as far as wines are concerned. The chef Gonzálo Doxandabarat escapes regional cuisine and excells with the natural products from the organic kitchen garden. As a starter, an arrugula salad with roquefort and nuts, accompanied by Amalaya, Colomé’s daily red wine, a combination of malbec and creole grapes. The main course: chicken steak stuffed with spinach and quinoa cous cous, escorted by a 100% malbec: the Colomé Estate, intense and elegant fruit of the youngest vines.

As we were pleasantly having lunch, we started to understand the affair between the Hesses and Colomé. "Here everything had to be done, everything was untouched. This is a special place where we made a bet to incorporate nature, society and a successful business”, Úrsula confesses. And some of these elements are already perceived in the air.


Matured Vines

At the siesta hour, I walked along the vineyards to get to the winery. In the past, the vines would be mixed up and it was a true challenge for the enologist Randle Johnson to put them in order, as he was used to the Napa Valley estate.

Twenty hectares of new vines are added to four unique hectares of 150-year-old malbec and cabernet sauvignon and 6 more hectares of grapes that grew on their own rhizome over 60 years ago.

Undoubtedly, the red wine is the star of Colomé, but the torrontés has deserved a sterling position. Its vines were about to be removed, but they happened to be the most ancient and, though its taste does not get even close to the contemporaneous torrontés, the effort was well worth making.

Amid the labor, I was welcomed by Ralph, one of the enologists of the Johnson group. The recent harvest has surpassed the expectations for this year. The museum projects and the enlargement of the winery have been planned for the year 2005. But at this stage, the production has required the use of the facilities of the old winery. At present, they are performing a first fermentation process in the open air, before putting the wine into the tanks to continue with this process and its maturation afterwards.

Finally, Colomé wines will make their triumphant entry late in 2004, so that Argentinians, Americans and Europeans may enjoy them.

To have the privilege of tasting it before that date, you just have to visit Colomé, stay at the estancia-hotel with a previous reservation, and spend a few days breathing the spirit of a prodigal land, which prints its stamp on a wine born in the Calchaquíes heights.

Autor Karina Jozami Fotografo Eduardo Epifanio

Contact of the excursion or tour


Bodega Colomé

R. Prov 54 Km 20 a 21 km de Molinos (4417) Cachi, Salta

Cel: +54 387-5030052

How to get hereHow to get here: 220 km Southwest from the capital city of Salta. If you want to pass by Cachi, take Provincial Route 33 and then National Route 40 to Molinos, turning into Provincial Route 53 for 20 more kilometers. The last section is a little bit winding and made of dirt, which urges us to drive extremely cautiously.

Bear in mindBear in mind: Try to stay at the estancia. Do not get there without previously enquiring about availability. It only has 9 rooms and, if you are coming from Salta or Cafayate, the next place to spend the night is quite far away.

Location

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Hotels and accommodations in Cachi

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