Intimayu Winery (“Inti”: sun; “Mayu”: rivers) worships the original American peoples who would thank the sun god for their fertile fields.
During our visit to each one of the wineries in San Rafael
, we found out that even though production stages may look similar, every one of them amazes us for some reason we discover on the tour.
We reached Intimayu Estate and Winery as a result of an invitation made by his owner, Mr. Juan Manuel Radivoj. Young like his winery, he came out to welcome us and enthusiastically told us about the history and the present of the company.
Juan Manuel pointed out that the first step was an intense search in order to define what kind of winery they wished to have. Therefore, meetings were held with friends and experts. Finally, they resolved to make signature wine or family wine.
He comes from a winegrowing family in Northern Italy and Slovenia. In 1999, they bought the estate where a winery had been working since 1930. They began growing cabernet sauvignon grapes and in 2003, they produced their first wine.
Walking down towards the production area, we listened to Juan Manuel: “We are proud of the long way we have gone and of our achievements so far. Undoubtedly, we still have to grow and we mean to keep using the cutting-edge technology but with a touch of craft. The premise is to control each stage, from the vineyards to the bottling process. For such purpose, we have an agronomist and an enologist”.
They keep the original vineyards but also receive grapes from other vineyards located in areas with different weather conditions in order to add some personality to the mixture obtained.
“I am sure that when the production volume has grown, it will be essential to have grapes from our own vineyards”, he added. Grape after Grape
They do their best so that the harvest is done by hand. The fruit is transported in small boxes to make sure that the grape gets to the winery intact.
“One of our features is not to crush the grape. It is destemmed and then the remontage
is carried out inside the pools, when the grains are crushed”, Juan Manuel told us. He explained that remontage
is a rotation movement for the grains to release their ferments naturally.
Neither the explanations nor our eagerness to keep track of the production process decreased during the stay, even though we were not taking the tour during the harvest season, when work is at its peak.
We learned that fermentation periods vary according to the orientation given to the wine. The bulk production was aimed at the segment represented by young, fruity wines with wood touches and shorter ageing than traditional wine.
As we went down the stairs towards the cellar, the lecture continued. The walls of the underground pools held a narrow corridor that led to the area where the wooden casks were sheltering the age-worthy wines. The environment was gloomy, to respect the wines that were maturing there.
Using a pipet, Juan Manuel extracted some wine from a cask to control its maturity, a usual procedure carried out by enologists. Though it was not ready to be bottled, we tasted a 2007 syrah to learn about its structure and ageing period. Fascinating!
We went through a second smaller cellar with tidied-up bottles and a tasting corner. It was a coquettish site where meetings were held to taste the new products. Glasses, armchairs and a friendly dim light made up that perfect atmosphere.
We found out about the entire premium wine line. Special batches were retailed at the very winery. Each vintage has a unique, almost crafted label.
Every year, the winery presents its wines in contest, each of them in their own category, to test their achievements as far as structures and positioning are concerned. Finca Intimayu Oro 2003 syrah-malbec was awarded four gold medals in 2005 and named “Wine of the Year” in 2006 by worldwide known authorities of excellence.
At the tasting area, a sign read: “Let yourself be carried away by your senses”.
We perceived that constant search as we tasted a glass of excellent wine offered to us by the host himself.