“An association between two cultures, two families and two noble grapes”

Baron Eric de Rothschild

History

The story of an alliance

The idea of forming a partnership between Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and the Catena family was born in 1999. Initial enthusiasm quickly became a concrete plan to produce a single wine that would combine French and Argentine cultures and the two signature grapes of each producer, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Catena family has produced wine for three generations. Consequently, it was able to draw on its vast knowledge of the high altitude terroirs of the Mendoza region as well as its passion for Malbec to find the best vineyards. DBR (Lafite) contributed its centuries-old skills in growing, vinifying and ageing great Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as its know-how in blending different grape varieties to produce one wine that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Exchanges and selection work began in 1999 to produce CARO’s first vintage in 2000. The success of the early vintages resulted in the creation of another wine in 2003: AMANCAYA which, like its older brother, is based on a harmonious balance between Argentinian identity and Bordeaux style. Bodegas CARO then decided to celebrate the grape variety for which Argentina’s vineyards are famous by selecting a pure Malbec, ARUMA, starting with the 2010 vintage.

The Bodegas CARO winery, in the heart of Mendoza, has been producing the wines since the 2003 vintage and serves as the anchor of the CARO project. The renovation of the historic building and gardens in order to expand the winery and open the Bodega to the outside brings the final touch to the original project.

The Vineyard

Meticulous selection

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From the outset, one of the top priorities for Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and the Catena family was to select the finest terroir that would enhance the alliance between Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.


The grapes selected for CARO come from Bodegas CARO’s vineyard
and from the best vineyards we have selected as the most representative of the great terroirs of Mendoza and known for the high quality of their Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

These terroirs are located :

– In the “First zone”, in  Luján de Cuyo and Maipú :
The region is known as the First Zone because it was the first place where Malbec was planted in Mendoza. The wines coming from this area are acknowledged to be among the best in the country. The altitude ranges from 800 to 950 metres and the average temperature range is 23ºC (max)/ 8ºC (min).

In the Uco Valley, in Tunuyán, Tupungato and San Carlos:
This is an up-and-coming wine region, located one hour south of Mendoza. The landscape of this area is impressive, with glaciers and year-round snow overlooking the adjacent river and the vineyards.  The altitude range is here 1000 to 1600 metres and the average temperature range is 22ºC (max)/ 7ºC (min).

Winemaking and technical aspects are managed by Fernando Buscema. Olivier Trégoat, Technical Director for DBR (Lafite) estates outside Bordeaux, provides technical supervision.

The Cellar

Traditional winemaking

Bodegas CARO lies the heart of the Mendoza region in cellars that were built between 1884 and 1895, which have been completely renovated.

Harvests are carried out by hand and the grapes are sorted on tables before de-stemming. Vinification is traditional with gentle pumping-over, followed by a period of maceration that varies in length depending on grape variety and vintage. Each vintage is aged in oak barrels, 18 months for CARO and 12 months for Amancaya. Most of the barrels are made at the DBR’s Cooperage in Bordeaux. Blending takes place during the months of September and October.

Malbec is a powerful, exuberant very fruity grape variety, that benefits from the structure and elegance given by the Cabernet. These two grape varieties go well together and gain complexity thanks to the rich high-altitude terroirs, offering great wines with good ageing potential.

 

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