Mountain wines of Andeluna, a Q&A with an Industry Insider

Andeluna is a family-owned winery located high in the Andes in the Uco Valley of Mendoza, one of the most prestigious wine regions in Argentina. Pictured above, Alicia Casale, area manager, Europe and Asia, says Blanc de Malbec is unique as a white wine

What is the wine philosophy of Bodega Andeluna?
Andeluna winery, founded in 2003, is located at 1,300 metres above sea level . We are proud to be mountain wines. Our name is inspired by the beauty of the Andes and the soft moonlight that falls on it creating a magical scene. The winery is committed to creating premium wines that respect and reflect the terroir. Given this philosophy Andeluna decided to produce the Blanc de Malbec. It is one of the first white Malbecs from Argentina. We are certified organic and in the process of achieving the sustainable certification.

Would you agree that Argentina and particularly Mendoza is synonymous with Malbec wines?
Yes, 75% of the world’s Malbec is from Argentina and particularly from the Mendoza wine region. Its dry, sunny climate, hot days, cool nights, and high altitude help in
maturing the Malbec grapes with a good flavour profile and acidity. Winemakers in Mendoza have been producing different styles of Malbec. The grape variety came to Argentina from France in the mid-19th century. For a long time the wines were heavy and medium-bodied with oak ageing in the style of French wines. In recent years winemakers have been diversifying and looking to produce lighter wines. Thus, Andeluna Winery decided to produce a Blanc de Malbec, a white wine from Malbec which is a purple grape and has traditionally been used to produce red wines.

How is a white wine achieved from Malbec grapes that are purple?
The procedure is very specific. In the vineyard, we treat the grape as if it is a white grape variety. The grapes are checked for maturity and harvested by hand a bit earlier. They are crushed gently so as to get only the juice without the skin or seeds being crushed. The juice is stored in stainless steel tanks and goes through static cold settling, chilled at temperatures between 5° to 10°C for 24 to 48 hours to preserve its freshness and prevent the initiation of natural yeast fermentation. Meanwhile the solids settle at the base of the tanks. The clear liquid is extracted and fermented using selected yeasts for 25 days in stainless steel tanks, at 13°C. There is no malolactic fermentation or ageing in barrels. This results in a light, crisp, fresh white Malbec.

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What is the Andeluna Blanc de Malbec’s flavour profile?
Our Chief Winemaker Manuel Gonzalez Bals has created a very fruity, easy drinking wine. It is pale green in colour, has an aroma with hints of jasmine and white roses and fruit notes of peach and apricot. On the palate, it has fresh acidity with a long finish and flowery aftertaste. Tasting Blanc de Malbec takes one to our vineyards as the wine has a sense of place. It is truly a tribute to our soil, altitude, the Andes and the moonlight that falls gently here!

How has white Malbec wine been received internationally?
Andeluna Blanc de Malbec is unique and has been appreciated by wine lovers. It is exported to many countries and we are looking forward to having the wine in India. It is best enjoyed at about 13°C, by itself or with food. Being light, fruity and easy-drinking, I believe it will appeal to the Indian palate.