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Cara Sur Wine

Cara Sur is a relatively small but highly acclaimed winery situated in the Barreal Valley, in the province of San Juan, Argentina. Unlike Mendoza, its renowned neighbouring region, San Juan isn't as globally recognised for wine production. However, it's this precise under-the-radar charm and unique terroir that contribute to Cara Sur's distinct identity. The winery is managed by the talented duo of Sebastián Zuccardi, a member of the well-known Zuccardi wine family, and Francisco Bugallo, a passionate wine lover. Together, they've challenged traditional viticulture and winemaking in Argentina, focusing on creating wines that truly reflect the terroir and the old vines they work with.

Terroir and Vineyards

Nestled at the foot of the Andes, the Barreal Valley boasts a high-altitude terroir, contributing to a significant diurnal temperature variation that is crucial for balanced grape ripening, ensuring rich flavours and maintaining a refreshing acidity. The vineyards are planted at over 1,500 meters (about 4,900 feet) above sea level, where the vines struggle in sandy and alluvial soils, stressing them to produce lower yields but highly concentrated grapes.

Cara Sur sources its grapes from very old, ungrafted pre-phylloxera vineyards. These ancient, gnarled vines are a treasure, offering a genetic diversity nearly lost in many wine regions due to the standardisation of commercial clones. The vines' age, combined with organic farming practices without the use of any chemicals, ensures the production of grapes that carry an unaltered expression of the land.

Winemaking PhilosophyCara Sur's winemaking approach is minimalistic, emphasising natural processes. They practice spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts, adding another layer of terroir expression to their wines. Their philosophy is based on minimal intervention, allowing the wine to develop its character without additives or unnecessary handling, resulting in wines that are vegan-friendly and display a real sense of place.

Their vinification process takes place in a range of vessels, including concrete eggs and used oak, which allow micro-oxygenation without imparting excessive oak flavours. This careful maturation process contributes to the wines' complexity while preserving the natural fruit profiles.

The WinesCara Sur's portfolio is as unique as its production methods. Perhaps their most celebrated wines are those made from Criolla Grande and Cereza, grape varieties that are historically significant in Argentina but often overlooked for fine wine production. By managing these vines carefully and applying thoughtful winemaking techniques, Cara Sur turns these grapes into profound, complex wines that defy expectations.

Their red wines are known for their fresh, vibrant red fruit flavours, floral notes, and earthy undertones, often medium-bodied with a remarkable acidity and minerality due to the high-altitude terroir. The white wines, on the other hand, are characterised by their aromatic intensity, crisp acidity, and a textural quality that is rarely achieved with the varieties they work with.

Sustainability and CommunityCara Sur maintains a strong commitment to sustainability. Their respect for the land goes beyond organic practices in the vineyards; they also focus on water conservation, a crucial aspect in the naturally dry region of San Juan. The winery keeps a small footprint, operating on a scale that allows for manual labour, which not only ensures precision in vineyard management and harvesting but also supports the local economy and community.

In essence, Cara Sur is more than a winery; it's a testament to the potential of San Juan's terroir and the power of simplicity and respect for nature in winemaking. Their wines are not just beverages, but narratives of the soil, the vines, and the human touch that moulds them. They reflect a philosophy that champions minimal intervention, purity of expression, and a deep reverence for the land and its history. For those who venture beyond the beaten path of Argentina's wine scene, Cara Sur offers an authentic, memorable, and enriching experience.

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