BS Bayala Lavaque

Bayala Lavaque Criolla Chica 2019     


Made from Criolla Chica (aka Listán Prieto) vines planted at the end of the 19th Century – 130 years ago! – this wine almost defies explanation and description, but we’ll give it a go. Firstly, don’t attempt comparison with anything else in the world because there is nothing else quite like this anywhere. The vines actually grow wild, climbing up trees as they would have done all over the world ‘in the wild’ without cultivation and to harvest the fruit, ladders are set against the trees. Brave souls like winemaker Pancho Lavaque climb several metres up these ladders to snip off the bunches.

Ancient vines like these produce very low yields and this is the lowest production wine we have ever imported in all our years working with Argentina – only 560 bottles were made in total. We managed to get 96 bottles. The grapes are grown – or rather grow, as there is no taming these plants – at extreme altitude in an extremely remote location.

The wine itself is delicate on the nose, almost fragile, and yet it sings a mesmerising song of wildflowers and exotic fruits. Close your eyes and you might trace the lineage of Torrontés, this after all is one of its parents along with Muscat of Alexandria. The wine is medium-bodied yet intense in every sense, with stunning tension and poise. Without taking anything away from winemaker Pancho Lavaque who has brought us something so special it needs tasting to be believed, it is almost as though this wine made itself. This is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime bottle of wine, and we feel extremely privileged to be its proud guardians in the UK.