Did you know…? The name Gauchezco comes from the word ‘gaucho’, meaning an Argentine cowboy. To adopt a ‘gaucho way of life’ is to live and die by the land…their success is tied to their understanding of the earth and soil…just like the success of the Gauchezco estate. We recently met up with Eric Arnesi from Gauchezco Vineyard and Winery to talk about the story behind his wines.
Meet Eric Anesi
Eric is a self-proclaimed ‘Colorado cowboy’, who moved to Argentina when he was just 27. He is the dedicated, charismatic and fiercely protective owner for the Gauchezco vineyard and winery and has built his business, literally, from the ground up.
His dedication to the maintenance of his land and the people who work with him; his sense of responsibility for the estate and its sustainability, as well as his passion for the history upon which his business is built, is second to none.
Eric’s commitment and his hard work, alongside his knowledgeable and passionate team, can be sensed in every sip of these wondrous wines. Every single bottle of his wine has significance. He told us: “Wine signifies a time to sit with family and friends – to take the time to enjoy it together…to make plans and share stories…it’s so much more than just squashed grapes.”
Let’s toast to the magic of Mendoza
The legendary vineyard was founded in 1881 by the Governor of Mendoza Tiburcio Benegas in Barrancas – Maipú.
Eric brought the vineyard back in 2007, bottling his first vintage in 2008. When he first purchased the estate, the weeds were 6ft high and the oldest vineyard in Argentina was in dire need of some TLC.
This gave Eric the perfect opportunity to learn about the unique land he had inherited, and the microclimate in Mendoza.
The grapes are of exceptional quality due to the climate and the earth, with its mix of soils, lime and rocks. Gauchezco can offer a wide range of wine varieties thanks to the extensive 11 hectares, which compromise of 9 different vineyards, each harvested at different times of year.
Every decision is taken with sustainability in mind. Different grasses are planted between the individual vines to replace vital nutrients back into the ground for the next harvest and organic fertilisers, like goat manure, are used.
With its long history, some of the vines are now as big as a tree…you can wrap your arms around them! Their longevity is thanks to the understanding of how to best look after, preserve and cultivate the land the Gauchezco team are responsible for.
The vineyards are also surrounded by an oak forest and one sits in the shadow of the huge decades old barn where wine is stored in French and American oak barrels – if only its walls could talk!
Eric tells us that the perfect time to visit the winery is at the end of October to witness the bud break and enjoy 25c of warming spring sunshine in the southern hemisphere…or to pop buy from the end of January as they harvest the first grapes for their sparkling pinot noir, through to April when they will be harvesting the bold red grapes of their cabernet sauvignon. Doesn’t it sound wonderful? When restrictions allow, if you are travelling to Mendoza, do take up Eric’s offer – visitors are more than welcome at the winery.
Despite their size, Gauchezco maintain an artisanal approach – no cutting corners or mixing grapes – ensuring their wine is correct, pure and true to the grape and its best qualities.
As Eric describes, “we truly take what the vines give us – no lab approach – no chemical substitutes.”
And don’t just take our word for it when it comes to quality and taste, Gauchezco wine is being noticed by some of the world’s top wine critics, in particular their Malbec and their Cabernet Sauvignon (reportedly better than anything to come out of Napa Valley in recent years).
The Gauchezco Reserve Malbec 2016 received 92 points from leading American critic James Suckling, who has been in the business for over 40 years. And Britain’s own, Master of Wine, Tim Atkin featured the estate in his top 200 Argentinian wine producers guide for 2020.
The wines are truly exceptional, over delivering on quality given the price point. Yet the Gauchezco team are committed to keeping them affordable so more people can enjoy them….So, more people can share their story….So, more people can truly appreciate the land and its history.
The Gauchezco gold
Whilst we may think the wine is gold medal worthy, the vineyard itself has an intriguing and exciting story of treasure buried within. The legend goes that two chests of gold doubloons are buried on the Mendoza site. The ‘Royal Road’ (namesake of the full bodied ‘Royal Road Malbecc 2019’ found in our Red Wine duo gift box) - leading from Santiago to Chile - cuts through the Gauchezco estate and was a famous route for bandits and thieves of the 17th Century.
Legend has it that a group of bandits were being pursued along the famous route, when they hurriedly buried their treasures in the rich fields of the Gauchezco estate…but were never to be seen again.
Eric and the Gauchezco team have always been extra careful when maintaining and working on their land to look out for signs of the buried treasure…Eric even had an historical investigator research into whether the stories could be true and, if so, where on the land these gold-filled chests may be found.
Sadly, at time of writing, they are yet to be uncovered but we hope the search continues for generations and the story is never forgotten…
Now you’ve been absorbed by the passion, it’s time to share the love. Send one of these hampers to the wine connoisseur in your life or treat yourself to a bottle of something truly exceptional. Enjoy with friends. Share the Gauchezco story and bring pure joy to your next gathering.
You can also find a selection of Gauchezco wines in our Wine gift hampers, available to buy now.