Winery of the Month – Viñedo de los Vientos

Atlántida, Uruguay

Viñedo de los Vientos (Vineyard of the winds) has been in the Fallabrino family since 1947 but the story starts way back in 1920. Angelo Fallabrino migrated to Montevideo, Uruguay running away from the First World War. A native of Alessandria, in the Italian Piedmont, Angelo knew how to make great wine and he founded one of the largest wineries in Uruguay. His son, Alejandro, followed in his footsteps. A brilliant winemaker, Alejandro was one of the most innovative persons in the Uruguayan wine industry in the 70s and 80s. Sadly, in 1991 Alejandro passed away and his father Angelo followed in 1995.

In 1995, Pablo, one of Alejandro’s three sons, inherited Viñedo de los Vientos vineyard. In 1997, Pablo decided to start his own winery. To achieve this he brought state of the art equipment for the winery from Italy. March 1998 was Pablo’s first vintage and over the next three years he perfected his winemaking skills. Pablo, a laid back good natured surfer, is the perfect catalyst to create a world class winery. During this time, Pablo developed his product line and his vision for winemaking. His approach is not to over think the wine making process; instead, he runs with his instincts, takes chances and makes extraordinary wines with his own personal signature.

Today the old vines have been replaced with plantings imported from France and South Africa. The varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Trebbiano, Tannat, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Nebbiolo were planted over the past 17 years transforming this 37 acre vineyard into a world class viticultural property.

Viñedo de los Vientos is located where the River Plate Estuary, the largest in the world, meets the Atlantic Ocean. This region provides clean cool ocean breezes and an ideal climate for the maturation of wine grapes. This region is also host to the largest concentration of bird species in the world where you can find more than 150 species of birds to observe. Surrounded by wetlands, the ecosystem is wild and perfect. At Viñedo de los Vientos, they practice sustainable agriculture with no insecticides and only a very low grade fungicide to control downy mildew. They practice “non till farming” keeping the native cover crops between the rows that they mow. Alejandro, Pablo’s brother, is an environmental activist and runs a project on the Uruguayan coast for the protection of the sea turtles. The project is called Karumbe. For more information go to www.karumbe.8k.com.
The most unique varietal on the property is the Tannat grape of which Pablo makes five different versions. Don Pascual Harriaque, a Basque immigrant, first introduced Tannat to Uruguay in 1870 from his native town in the Maridan Valley in southwestern France. It was so perfectly suited to the native soil and climate that soon it became the national grape of Uruguay and is the most widely planted grape varietal in the country.

Viñedo de los Vientos – 2008 Platinum – Estival
This unique Uruguayan blend with Alsacian flair denotes Uruguay’s winemaking style and the quality of its white wines.
Composition: 60% Gewürztraminer, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Moscato Bianco
Characteristics: Its silky white fruit tones are accentuated by passion fruit, pineapple, apricot, peaches and pears with floral notes of zucchini flowers. The finish is amplified with an almond cream that matures on the palate. This wine is dry with lots of rich fruit flavors making it ideal with Asian and Indian food.

Viñedo de los Vientos – 2007 Platinum – Tannat
Tannat is best known for developing rich aromas and vigorous complexity on the palate. Like Shiraz for Australia, Malbec for Argentina and Sauvignon Blanc for New Zealand, Tannat is the wine of Uruguay.
Composition: 100% Tannat
Characteristics: Prominent scent of dry autumn leaves, cacao bean, Asian spices, hints of morning dew, Brilliant, bright fruit aromas of bush ripe blueberry and raspberry up front. On the palate, intense dark fruit, polished tannins with a mild gamey nature that defines a true Tannat grade expression.

Viñedo de los Vientos – 2006 Angel’s Cuvèe – Ripasso de Tannat
Intrigued with the rich ripe wines of the Valpolicella and Valtelina regions of Italy, Pablo decided to produce “Ripasso de Tannat’ in the style of the great Amarone wines of that region. During harvest, the team walks down each row, clipping the stem to the cluster to stop the circulation of fluids to the grape while allowing the clusters to hang on the vine. The dried grapes are then allowed to raisin and are handpicked a month later and refermented with Tannat wine. This wine is then aged for 18 months in 60% new French oak and 40% in neutral French oak. Very limited production.
Composition: 100% Tannat
Characteristics: This wine is unfined and unfiltered. Strong white truffled earth tone flavors, refined gaminess, wooded forest notes, roasted fennel, fig and chocolate. Rhubarb marmalade accents with sweet raisins and star anise on the palate finishing with a pleasant hazelnut character.

Viñedo de los Vientos – NV Dessert wine – Alcyone
Alcyone, a Greek demi-goddess, was the daughter of Eolo and Ceyx. They were very happy together till Ceyx perished in a shipwreck. Alcyone in desperation threw herself into the ocean. Out of compassion, the gods changed her into a Halcyon bird. Since Alcyone made her nest on the beach and waves threatened to destroy it, Eolo restrained his winds and made the waves calm for seven days, so Alcyone could lay her eggs. These became known as the “Halcyon Days” when storms never occur. This wine is one of the most unique dessert wines made in the world and is very tranquil and soothing as you relax and enjoy it.
Composition: 100% Tannat
Characteristics: This wine is full of the most radiant and vibrant flavors of wild flowers, Madagascan vanilla bean, wild apple mint and a white cacao soufflé. Pablo combines the methods of making Barolo Chinato and Marsala that brings all these flavors together to create this unique wine. A must try!

Viñedo de los Vientos – NV Dessert Wine – Alcyone Reserve
This great unique wine is produced like the regular Alcyone but fortified with pure grappa and aged for 12 months in new French oak barrels.
Composition: 100% Tannat
Characteristics: Sweet grappa aromas with a touch of vanilla invade the nose. On the palate, chocolate, mint and almond flavors mingle together to create an incredible singular flavor with an extremely long finish

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