The vineyards of the north-western province of Salta are located around the 26° latitude south and include some of the highest elevated vineyards in the world, with many vineyards planted more than 1700 meters above sea level. Two vineyards planted by Bodega Colome in Salta are at elevations of 2250 meters and 3000 meters.
Salta is a breath-taking, mountainous wine region in the north of Argentina, considered part of the larger region known simply as the North-West, bordered by Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay. Many of its vineyards are planted at high altitudes in the mountains and foothills. The mountains serve as both climate protection and irrigation, with melted snow flowing into the alluvial (sand over clay) soils.
Grapes grown here can reach perfect ripeness and acidity without becoming over extracted or too alcoholic. The Salta region has sandy-loam soils made from thick grains with gravel and fine sands on the surface. These characteristics are similar to the layers of subsoil but with fractions of finer sand located deeper and with presence of round stones.
Most of Cafayate region in Salta is located in the river delta between the Rio Calchaqui and the Rio Santa Maria. The climate of the area experiences a föhn effect which traps rain producing cloud cover in the mountains and leaves the area dry and with high sunshine hours. Despite its high altitude daytime temperatures in summer-time can reach 38°C but at night the area has a wide diurnal temperature variation with night time temperatures dropping down as low as 12°C.
This effect causes the vines to rest and recover during the night and continue synthesizing colour mater, varietal aromas and flavours. This makes wines with excellent colour, intense aromas and lively flavours with mature tannins. Both white and red varietals stand out for their fruit characters, as well as for their varietal authenticity.
With some threat of frost during the winter, when temperatures can drop as low as -6°C. Despite the region producing less than 2% of Argentina's yearly wine production, the Cafayate wine region is increasingly gaining in prestige and acclaim. This most outstanding of wine regions, located in the so-called Calchaquíes Valleys, with a concentrated 70% of the vineyards being planted in this valley.
Cafayate is located at a distance of 196 kilometres from Salta City and 1393 kilometres from the capital Buenos Aires. The town was founded back in 1840 by Manuel Fernando de Aramburu, at the site of a mission. In 1863 the Cafayate Department was created, of which Cafayate is the capital.
The soils and climate of the regions are very similar to Mendoza but the unique meso-climate and high elevation of the vineyards typically produce grapes with higher levels of total acidity which contribute to the crafted wines balance and depth. In recent years the Salta region, and particularly its sub-region of Cafayate, have been gaining worldwide attention for the quality of its full bodied white wines made from Torrontés Riojano, as well as its fruit driven red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Tannat. Other grape varietals grown in the area include Syrah and Chardonnay, with the total vineyard area of the Salta regions currently covering approximately 2647 hectares.