Cafayate, Salta, in Argentina’s northern reaches, showcases landscapes as mystical as they are majestic and carries the legacy of the Incan empire as much as that of geological distinction. Every bottle of wine produced here holds some of Incas’ ancient spirituality; every vine still feels their touch in the earth. In homage of this area’s first inhabitants, who called their chief “Tukma” and their land “Tukmanao,” this new project, with vineyards situated among the mountains and red desert on the border between Salta and Tucumán (just outside of Cafayate) reflects their heritage in its name. Master local winemaker and Torrontés specialist, Jose Luis Mounier, crafts wines that could only be made by one who deeply understands this unique land. The vineyards are completely unique: “Los Tolombones”, situated in Tolombón at 5,577 feet above sea level, and “Los Angastacos”, in Angastaco at 6,234 above sea level, which total 37 acres of vineyards under production. Bodega Tukma also owns vineyard land in Colalao del Valle, Tucumán province, and in Huacalera, province of Jujuy, this latter at an incredible 8,858 feet above sea level, considered to be the highest altitude vineyards in Argentina. Although the vines are as old as 38 years (in the case of the Torrontés), this is only the second bottled vintage of Tukma wines. Miniscule quantities are produced: 10,700 bottles of Torrontés (all stainless steel fermented and kept on its lees for 3 months) and 12,500 bottles of Malbec (8 months in new French oak), soon to be joined by a premium blend that will be released only when it has achieved perfection. Perfectly balanced and full of elegance, Tukma wines represent Salta’s history as well as its future.

 

Tukma Torrontés 2009

This 100% Torrontés shows us just how well-made Torrontés can be—and it’s no wonder since it is made by famed longtime Torrontés expert Jose Luis Mounier. Only 10,500 bottles are produced, and it comes from a mere 6 hectares of 37-year old vines at an incredible 6,200 feet above sea level, in the Calchaquí Valley of Salta. It is 100% stainless steel fermented, the way Torrontés should be, and the result is stunning. Its color is a delicate clear yellow, and on the nose it gives all the typical aromas: lychee, grapefruit, tropical fruits and rose petals. The palate is where it surprises—with a burst of acidity seldom found in its fellow Torrontés. The vibrant backbone that this acidity lends it makes it a perfect partner for many foods: cheeses, fish, shellfish, sushi, and any spicy foods. The future of Torrontés appears to be in Mounier’s hands.

Robert Parker rated this wine 87 points, saying that the wine has notes of spice and lemon curd, tropical aromas, dry palate, good depth and length, solid quality.

 

 

Tukma Malbec Reserva 2008

A voluminous Malbec and only 12,000 bottles produced, and the care that goes into those bottles is evident. The grapes come from 10 hectares of 12-year old vines in Tolombón, just outside of Cafayate, at 5,250 feet above sea level. The wine is stainless steel fermented then aged for 8 months in French and American oak barrels just to round it out a bit. It’s slightly wild Cafayate personality is allowed to shine through. In the glass its almost-black purple color catches one’s eye immediately. Out of the glass waft aromas of black pepper, stewed plums, and black olives. On the palate it surprises, unlike any other Malbec, with flavors of roasted meat, plums, and a slight spiciness that keeps it interesting. The oak is well integrated, lending a nice roundness to the wine. Pair it with roasted meat, especially venison or lamb, and let it work its magic.

Robert Parker rated this wine 91 points, saying that the wine is opaque purple in color; black cherry, plum, and spice box jumps from glass; succulent, already complex.


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