Yacochuya Winery

Yancochuya red wines, which grow over 2,000 m high in the Calchaquíes Valleys, have become a typical exponent of Argentinian enology in a few years.

We knew that in the land of the sun and the wine there was a famous “treasure”, as we have called it in our Argentinian Wines section.
Yacochuya is only 8 kilometers from Cafayate, 2,035 meters over sea level, which makes its terroir something unique and matchless. This was thought by the famous Pomerol enologist Michel Rolland when he joined Arnaldo Etchart to exploit 16 hectares spreading on the slopes of the Salta pre-mountain range.

At about five in the afternoon, Marcos Etchart was expecting us at the estate. Just as he had anticipated, it was the best time to admire the vineyard landscape that reaches the Yacochuya River, “clear water” in the quechua language.

It is a privileged nook in one of the highest wine-growing areas in the world. It is the gold cradle of two of the sublime red wines in the country: the San Pedro de Yacochuya, malbec with a touch of cabernet sauvignon, and the premium Yacochuya, plain, without adjectives but with the very signature of Rolland.

  • Over 2,000 m high

    Over 2,000 m high

  • In the Calchaquíes Valleys

    In the Calchaquíes Valleys

  • Is only 8 kilometers from Cafayate

    Is only 8 kilometers from Cafayate

  • The land of the sun and the wine

    The land of the sun and the wine

Marcos invited us to see the winery. No sooner had we entered than he extracted a glass of malbec from the barrels for us to taste. 27° C, in the very process of maceration, the intense color and the alcoholic strength are still impossed on the wine.
Rolland and Etchart are not mistaken in undertaking the red wines in the land of the classic and distinguished torronteses, which occupy 2 hectares of the state as compared to the 9 hectares of malbec, the 4 hectares of cabernet sauvignon and the remaining hectare of tannat.

Originally Spanish, the Yacochuya torrontés stands out due to its fruit and floral aromas, dry and intense taste in the mouth. The red San Pedro, 85% malbec and 15% cabernet, presents richness and complexity, a perfume of berries and important structure in the mouth, with soft tannins. For the Yacochuya 2000, it is enough to say that the expert enologists define it as a complex, authentic and personal wine, voluptuous, intense in color and with a long taste following the bouquet. Eight generous years ago, these magnificent red wines emerged, thus marking a new profile in the Calchaquíes wines.

Pure Red Wines

As he kept balancing the glass in his hand, Marcos explained to us the neat process step by step.
The winery has a production capacity of 90 thousand liters and it is equipped with the highest technology. The 60-year-old red varieties grow in the “espaldero” modality -vine rows consisting of two stakes, one at each end, joined by wires to guide growth in a vertical direction. They are irrigated by furrows with spring waters. The sun, the temperature amplitude and the characteristics of a soil blessed by its richness give it the final details to make them unique in their kind.

He harvest, which takes place from the second fortnight of March to the first fortnight of April, is made by hand, in the morning with low temperatures. In their optimal maturation, the vines are collected in 18-kilogram boxes. During 10 days, they are left for fermentation and then, always under a controled temperature, the wort is macerated together with the skin during 4 weeks. In this winery, the stainless steel tanks used for such purpose and the cavas receive the name of Argentinian artists, as a singular tribute paid by the Etcharts. The following step is malolactic fermentation, which transforms the powerful malic acid into lactic acid, thus diluting the total acidity of wine. This is performed in casks without a filtering process. After this natural phenomenon, the wine becomes more stable and it turns out to be more refined and “buttery”. Afterwards, it rests for a period of approximately 15 months in new French oak casks.

Once this long and delicate road has been walked along, both the San Pedro and the Yacochuya have to be tracked down in the most select wine shops or in the menus of some privileged restaurants in the country. Because, having won prizes and been distinguished by masters of enology, the Yacochuyas have known well how to earn a position in the international market and become popular as two of the best wines in Argentina.

Robert Parker Jr., contemporary eminence on the subject, gave the Yacochuya 2000 93 points, the Wine Spectator granted it 91 and the Decanter, 5 stars. Proudly, Marcos makes some comments about the winery future projects. Quite right too, together with Rolland, the Etcharts will continue harvesting success with these magnificent red wines from Salta.

Autor Karina Jozami Fotografo Eduardo Epifanio

Contact of the excursion or tour

San Pedro de Yacochuya

Cafayate (4427) Cafayate, Salta

Tel: +54 3868-421233

Tour typeTour type: Winery
How to get hereHow to get here: Travel 7km along paved National Route 68 up to the entrance to the estate and 1km more to reach the winery.


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