Finca Decero: A land of Wines, Mountains, and Owls

I started the trip to Finca Decero, driving along the route that goes west, towards the majestic Andean mountain range, an emblematic point to cultivate the vines, give life to exceptional Argentine wines, and we find here a magical land that comes to tell us a peculiar story. Finca Decero is located more than a thousand meters above sea level with fabulous scenery and jaw-dropping views, the idea of protecting the land became an integral part of their core philosophy behind their incredible wines.

Upon reaching the winery, we find a sizeable cozy house, which welcomes us with a calm typical of this land at the foot of the Andes and accompanied by the warmth of the hosts, makes us feel even more welcome.

Beautiful and desolate was the land that Thomas found when he arrived in Mendoza, and after much hard work Decero, which he refers to working the ground from scratch, it became known as the Remolinos vineyard, translated, "swirls." Their philosophy of working in the winery is manual versus automation and is further reflected in their commitment and responsibility with this land they call home. Based on their studies of the soils, the conclusion was that only red fruited varietals would be planted.

The vineyards have different plots where the different varieties are worked, which acquire different characteristics according to the place where they are located, achieving that for example a Malbec, has different nuances according to the location of the vineyard in which the team develops.

With immense creativity, different wines are achieved with different complexity that is reflected after being in French oak barrels first, second and third use according to the line, but we also find that some have their whole process in roll fermenters, thus achieving the pleasure of the complex elaboration.

The story begins with the name Decero, which means 'from-scratch,' to build something from nothing, with no blueprint, no recipe, and not even a really obnoxiously terrible IKEA instruction manual with more parts that are needed to construct the said item.

It was back in 2004 when a Swiss gentleman named Thomas Schmidheiny came to these iconic lands, fascinated by its splendor and the delicate characteristics of its soil, and the beauty of its culture. All of which, accompanied by a responsible, sustainable and honest work, gave it life, the result extraordinary wines that reflect their philosophy of terroir.

The Amano Approach is a philosophy that as the name implies, "by hand" which refers to the manual work of caring for the vineyard, whether it's picking at harvest or pruning during dormancy, their "by-hand" approach to making wine brings unique balance and harmony to the wines they produce. The use of a gravity-fed system of transporting wines from place to place in the winery further reinforces the gentle "by-hand" approach taken by Finca Decero team.

The Decero Amano is the pinnacle estate bottling, where the best blocks of the Remolinos vineyard are assembled. The better lots of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot having spent 22 months in a variety of French oak barrels from different coopers and one year in bottle, the result is a wine of extraordinary delicacy, long and silky elegance. It's worth restating that each bottle is the result of an on-hands approach which is believed to deliver exceptional quality and authenticity.

Decero Classics: Representing the three Clásicos, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah are bottled as a single varietal. The Four stages of selection guide their team's attention towards optimizing quality; after which wines spend 14 months of maturation in French oak. The result is a bottle of wine with the elegance and finesse, one that distinguishes the Finca Decero Malbec from many others. This process gives their wines medium-bodied, balanced with a fresh acidity that reminds us of intense aromas of red fruits with notes of cherries and raspberries.

Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine had a clean, pronounced nose, brimming with dusty mocha, cigar box, black pepper, and currants. I found this wine to have mouth-watering balanced acidity and well-integrated tannins, which is naturally aged in French Oak barrels, appealing flavors of cocoa, blackberry and cherries swirling about to lithe long coffee type finish. Plush elegance

Malbec: One hundred percent Malbec, and a one hundred percent fantastic wine to enjoy with friends and family. The wine in my glass is relatively light in color, a bright ruby colored core; complimented by brilliant aromas of dark summer plum, blueberry, sage, and broken, crushed rock. The taste is dry, fruit plush, the acid is very balanced, the body is medium and the tannins moderate.

Syrah: In this variety, I found aromas reminiscent of lazy afternoons, ripening figs, and mineral notes, a perfumed delicacy of bygone days. I found the body to be supple, but not overly opulent, the long finish on the palate and great texture, reminding me of the Syrah from the north of the Rhone Valley in France. Decero Mini Editions

Also known as their unusual varieties selection, three small production wines, atypical for most growers in the area, and grown in soil inhabited previously by native scrub brush. Their limited-edition varieties listed below, in which only a small number of bottles are produced each year.

Cabernet Franc: A gorgeous expression of freshly ground peppercorns, graphite, and summer-ripe plum notes can be found in this Cabernet Franc with a medium body and silky texture, with excellent aging potential after having spent 16 months in French oak barrels.

Petit Verdot: It presents tasty and intense flavors of wild blueberries with a touch of quince towards the end. Of great balance and magnificent depth and tannic structure, this wine exhibits an exceptional aging potential.

Tannat: While in some areas there's particular attention paid to this varietal, it is not a common grape in Mendoza but has extraordinary potential. Intense, spicy, earthy, of exceptional quality, Tannat has become since that day I visited Finca Decero in one of my favorites; this wine brought back Sunday morning memories of aromas of leather, blackberry, and some coffee. Tannat has become a varietal to which the Mendoza terroir feels good, and comfortably at home.

The story of the owl and the swirl as legend would have it; says that a group of owls has made their home in the Vineyards of Finca Decero and that from that moment protect the vines against external threats. Every so often, during the growth stage of the vines, swirls of wind and dust are formed to invade the vineyards, and upon seeing them, the owls fly in pursuit to ward off the threat of their homes, and these whirlpools disappear into the wind from once they came.

The Owls return to perch on the vines to be back to the guard of their vineyards, but what the owls do not notice is that these swirls of wind also play a protective role against the spring frosts and play a significant role to keep the grapes fresh during the summer.

The legend of this battle between two natural wonders, the winged predator and the swirling wind, has resulted in the inspiration of their now iconic "the owl and the dust devil" blend, a mixture of some of their most prized plots of Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat from the Remolinos vineyard.

The owl and the dust devil possess a silky structure and an exceptional character with an excellent guarding potential, with the certainty that the spirit of the owls will always be taking care of it.

The philosophy of Finca Decero is to walk lightly in the environment and be part of the development of the community, from pruning the vines and selecting the bunches by hand, to repurpose the snowmelt water from the surrounding mountains and other environmentally friendly practices which help Finca Decero stay on the cutting edge of sustainability in action.

That is why the social responsibility program has led Decero to donate 50 cl per bottle sold from The Owl & The Dust Devil specifically for the health and education of the local community.

Awareness, teamwork, responsibility, sustainability, and empathy with the environment and the community that forms it, are the values that Finca Decero transmits, and that are clearly reflected in each bottle, and to that end, I lift a glass, cheers!


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