The estate’s vineyards are located in Cafayate in the very heart of the Calchaquí Valley, distinguished for being one of the highest wine regions in the world at 1700 metres above sea level. The climate is very dry, with just 150 millimetres of rain in an average year and huge diurnal temperature fluctuations of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which results in fruit with hugely concentrated flavour.
This wine is a brilliant ruby colour with purple edges. The nose boasts aromas of ripe strawberry and raspberry, with floral notes and subtle hints of pepper and spice. Flavours of red fruit, spice and vanilla fill the mouth, and the well-integrated tannins are balanced beautifully by an elegant freshness.
In the indigenous language of the now-extinct Calchaquí tribe, Amalaya translates to ‘hope for a miracle’. Situated in the Calchaquí Valley in Salta, the Amalaya winery has a staggering elevation of 1,828 metres and is now part of the Hess Family Wine Estates of Hess Collection, Napa Valley fame. They run Amalaya with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other famed Hess estate in the region, Bodega Colomé.
Amalaya comprises 80 hectares of vines planted with Malbec, Torrontés, Riesling, Tannat, Petit Verdot, Bonarda, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot, with an additional 40 hectares in development. Their grapes are sourced from three vineyards: ‘Finca Las Mercedes’ (with deep sandy soils), ‘Finca San Isidro’ (with rocky soils), and ‘Finca Amalaya’ (fractured rocky soils and stones of varying sizes). Like the wines of Bodega Colomé, their grapes benefit from being planted at high elevations. Amalaya’s vines are also drip irrigated using mountain run-off water stored in reservoirs, as the average annual rainfall is only 150mm.