Criolla was introduced to South America by the Spanish conquistadors who brought the variety over from its native home, the Canary Islands. The variety is known for its resistance to drought hence its popularity in the Mendoza region, pre-irrigation. Winemaker, Santiago Mayorga has experimented with the variety for the first time using fruit from a 70-year-old Uco valley vineyard which sits 1000 metres above sea level. Here the soil is sandy and littered with pebbles to a depth around 60cm. This coupled with poor fertility and little organic matter makes it the perfect site for Criolla to flourish. This wine contains Criolla Grande with around 10% Criolla Chica due to the mix of the vineyard. Santiago uses small tanks and manual battonage to achieve soft extraction then transfers the wine into concrete eggs for fermentation. Only 4000 bottles have been created and of this, the UK only receives a fraction.
A refreshing change in style to stereotypical full bodied Argentinian reds. This wine exhibits a pretty aroma profile of raspberry compote with fresh red fruits on the palate and crunchy acidity. Think somewhere between Gamay and Cinsault.
As this is a grape variety similar to Gamay, Cinsault or Pais, its light, fragrant and hugely charming style works well with lamb, mushroom based dishes and dry cured meats.