Winery – cafayate, salta; vineyards – calchaquÍ valley, salta
the vines that time forgot…
We’ve known Francisco (Pancho) Lavaque for many years. He is part of the Lavaque family, a well-known producer of wines from Cafayate in Salta in the far north of Argentina. In recent years Pancho has focused on his own special project, Vallisto.
We saw, we tasted, we smiled, we bought, and the wines are being very well received in the trade indeed. With a good number of Vallisto vintages now under his belt, Pancho is pushing the envelope as much as any winemaker we know of, particularly in the context of Salta. Traditionally home to mainly hefty, inky, ‘big’ wines, Pancho is making delicate aromatic wines with beautiful poise and freshness, and an elegance rarely seen from this region with vineyards amongst the highest in the world. He is also a great believer in experimentation, never afraid to try and fail in the pursuit of something new and exciting, always with an eye on the amazing old vineyard heritage all around him.
A Vallisto is a person from the valley, specifically from Cafayate Valley. And this project is about expressing the virtues of the truly unique terroirs in and around this beautiful, remote area of Argentina. It is also a rescue mission, giving voice to long-forgotten vineyards and lesser-known grape varieties, pulling together a youthful, dynamic approach to winemaking and the kind of natural resources that take millennia to form. Pancho and his team are creating exciting, rare gems, often from very old vines and they are crafting modern, elegant wines that are light on extraction and big on flavour and complexity.
These are wines to raise eyebrows and raise expectations. If you thought you knew Salta, do try these.