Based in Vista Flores, in the south of Argentina's Uco Valley near Tunuyan, Clos de Los Siete is the flagship Argentine winery of world-famous French enologist Michel Rolland -- and perhaps the most ambitious (and most expensive) winery project on on the planet. Stretching out across the foot of the Andes, this mega-operation consists of five individual wineries, the fruit of Rolland's collaboration with seven French partners.
The first of these five wineries is Bodega Diamandes, belonging to the Bonnie family, owners of Bordeaux's Château Malartic-Lagraviere and Pessac-Leognan's Château Gazin Rocquencourt. Another of the wineries is called Cuvelier los Andes, the project of Jean Guy and Bertrand Cuvelier of St. Julien's Château Leoville-Poyferre and Bordeaux's Château Le Crock. The third winery is owned by Catherine Pere-Verge, who also owns Château Montviel, Château Le Gay, Château La Graviere, and Château La Violette -- all in Pomerol -- and is called Monteviejo. Also in the mix are Baron Benjamin de Rothschild and Laurent Dassault of Listrac's Château Clarke and Saint-Emilion's Château Dassault. Their slice of Clos de Los Siete is called Felecha de los Andes. The fifth winery, of course, belongs to Rolland himself. Visiting Clos de la Siete couldn't be more surreal. The landscape is daunting and edge-of-the-world rugged, yet behind each winery's uniquely stylized, grandiose architecture, lay perhaps the most technologically advanced winemaking facilities on earth.
The five wineries draw grapes from roughly Clos de La Siete's 850 hectares of vineyards planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Tannat and Tempranillo (these two are being grown experimentally for now)as well as a number of white varietals, particularly Sauvignon Blanc. Clos de la Siete is also the name of the operation's flagship and most widely available bottling, a red blend made by Michel Rolland from grapes harvested from all the property's separate parcels.
Though each year's is different, the Clos de la Siete is generally Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon dominant with Syrah and Petit Verdot showing up frequently. Growing grapes in the Uco Valley - which is much cooler than Mendoza - surely presents unique challenges to the Bordelais running the show: this is a desert climate , with sandy, pebble laden soil requiring extensive irrigation, as well as elevation and vineyard gradation radically different from Bordeaux's essentially flat growing region. Clos de los Siete released its first vintage in 2002 and since then has been steadily finding finding its stride.