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Bodegas Etchart
There is the young and there is the young at heart. While many Argentinian wineries are on popping up with little or no heritage, Bodegas Etchart date back to the mid-19th century and is very much a benchmark for wines of the region.
Planted at the foot of the Andes
Founded in 1850, Bodegas Etchart Cafayate was among the first Calchaquíes Valley wine producer to realise the potential of having high altitude vineyards. Planted at over 1,750 metres above sea level, Etchart’s founder, Flavio Lema Niño planted the first Torrontés vines as an experiment (Torrontés being the most popular grape in Argentina since the 16th century). results were good for Flavio, but it was when Arnaldo Etchart acquired the estate in 1938 that they became great. Together with his son Arnaldo Jnr, they developed the “Etchard touch”. They planted French-origin vines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec and Merlot, (varieties of which are still being used in the 300-hectare production that makes up Bodegas Etchart today) and in 1963 released their Etchart Privado Torrontes range.
Finally an Argentinian wine worth talking about!
This was a turning point for the Bodega and helped put Argentinan wines on the worldwide map. 1975 saw heavy investing in a new winery in Medoza followed by a chance meeting with renowned French oenologist Michel Rolland, of Chateaux Angélus, Clinet and Pavie fame in 1987 and Etchart’s fate success was secured. The Rolland-Etchart collaboration was one of the first of Rollan’s consultancy’s outside of France, and brought about a massive change in Arnaldo Jnr’s red wine. The fruit of their labour, Arnaldo B. Etchart Cosecha (1989) was released in 1990 and quickly became one of the first iconic Argentinian wines. The Rare Red Blend remains a secret. Market performance of the wine can be erratic; the 24 months from June 2017-June 2019 saw the wine lose 50% by December 2018 only to enjoy a 150% rise the following month.

Bodegas Etchart was sold to the Pernod Ricard Group in 1996, which has allowed for renovation and expansion of the vineyards and original winery.