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Details for Atamisque Serbal, Cabernet Franc

AppellationTupungato - Valle de Uco
Cabernet Franc
(click to find out more)
Bodega Atamisque
(click to find out more)


The largest, most famous and most productive winemaking region in Argentina, Mendoza is also one of the driest places in the world.  The Andes soar into the skyline and catch any rainfall headed Mendoza’s way.
Mendoza is so dry that its vineyards must be irrigated using meltwater from the mountains.  Lots of sunshine and almost no rain make ripening healthy grapes easy, and control over irrigation allows producers to make lots of dilute wine or small amounts of concentrated wine, as they desire.  There has been a massive shift towards the latter since the ’90s.
Mendoza is a huge area with a number of sub-regions, the most notable being Maipú, Luján de Cuyo and, perhaps the most exciting, the relative newcomer Valle de Uco.  A number of well-resourced wineries have invested in this high-altitude sub-region where nights are cool and the wines’ acidity is consequently high.
Malbec is the undisputed champion variety to grow in Mendoza, and so successful has it been here that Argentina is now considered to be the grape’s true home, despite its origins in Bordeaux.  Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Syrah and Tempranillo are other important red grapes.  Whites are less-planted, at least outside of the Valle de Uco, with Chardonnay and Torrontés being the main varieties.

Bodega Atamisque

Formerly known as Estancia Atamisque, this estate was purchased in 2006 by a Frenchman, John Du Monceau, who fell in love with the place and decided to settle there with his wife Chantal. Bodega Atamisque’s construction began in 2006 and the first harvest was performed in 2007.
Their winemaker, Philippe Caraguel, is actually Argentinian, though of French extraction. He has a Masters degree in Oenology and Viticulture from Montpellier in France and worked in French vineyards for two years before returning to Argentina, working with a variety of local vineyards before joining Bodega Atamisque at its inception in 2006.

about this wine About this wine

This Argentinian red comes from Tupungato, the most sought-after part of the Valle de Uco, which is itself regarded as the best sub-region of Mendoza, Argentina’s biggest and best-known wine region.  At a latitude of 33° South and in the middle of the continent far from the moderating effects of the ocean, Tupungato ought to be much too hot to produce quality wine.
But Tupungato’s vineyards are perched 1300 metres up in the foothills of the Andes, and that makes all the difference.  The climate here in the rain shadow of the mountains is very predictable: cold winters, high daytime temperatures in summer but cold nights, lots of sun and almost no rain. Producing healthy, concentrated, perfectly ripe grapes here is a doddle, once the water shortage has been overcome with precisely-controlled irrigation using meltwater from the glaciers above.
Think of Argentinian red and you think of Malbec.  It may originally hail from south-west France, but Argentina has made the grape its own.  You’ll also have seen wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz.  And if you’ve been with us for a few months, you’ll have tasted the local speciality Bonarda.  But you’re unlikely to have seen a Cabernet Franc.
Cabernet Franc is a very old variety and, as its name suggests, very French.  It’s actually a parent of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and with them forms the classic Bordeaux blend much copied around the world.  Yet it’s hardly ever seen as a varietal wine.  Only in the Loire Valley is the grape used alone, in wines like Chinon and Saumur-Champigny.
But now Argentinian producer Bodega Atamisque have produced this one.  Appropriately enough, this estate was founded in 2006 by French couple John and Chantal du Monceau and their winemaker Phillippe Caraguel.  This wine is unoaked and hand-picked, just like the Loire reds that inspired it, and provides us with a rare opportunity to taste Cabernet Franc flying solo… at 1300 metres!

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