The route to the vineyards of Bodegas El Porvenir de los Andes in the region of Cafayate starts in the city of Salta, widely considered the best-preserved colonial city of Argentina. From Salta, visitors ascend steadily through breathtaking scenery until reaching the vineyards, at 5,740 feet above sea level.
Normally, when people think about Argentina's high-altitude vineyards, their thoughts turn towards Mendoza. But Cafayate, in the far northern reaches of Argentina, is the country's true high-altitude wine-growing region. Here, dry, rocky soil helps produce low, highly concentrated yields, while the desert climate yields even greater day-night temperature variation than Mendoza.
One out of a number of small, family-owned wineries in Cafayate, Bodegas El Porvenir de los Andes limits annual production to 100,000 bottles for the entire winery. Of that, only 10,000 bottles of the 2007 Laborum Torrontés were made. The grapes come from 40-year-old, pergola trained Torrontés vines. This wine does not receive any oak, allowing the terroir to express itself fully.
On the nose, the wine gives subdued Torrontés aromas of rose petals and lychees. On the palate it is surprising fresh with zippy acidity, and with none of the bitterness Torrontés can sometimes possess.
Serve this wine as an aperitif, or pair it with shellfish.