Last Saturday, January 28th, we visited Alto de la Ballena winery, which is framed by the singular beauty of Laguna del Sauce and the Ballena mountains, in the department of Maldonado, very close to Punta del Este.
Despite only having 20 years since the first vineyard was planted, this winery is the oldest in the department of Maldonado. Its owners, Paula and Álvaro, are the ones who run this project and were great visionaries in its early days, as there was no vineyard in that area of Uruguay at that time.
Today, Maldonado is a recognized area for the properties that its soil and climate transmit to the vines, and thus, wines are produced with a marked and distinctive touch.
Alto de la Ballena only has 8 hectares of vineyard planted with Merlot, Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Viognier varieties, with limited productions that seek high quality.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Paula and Pablo Ricciardi, head of Tourism. They awaited us with an exquisite appetizer and clericó made with Albariño 2022. Later, we enjoyed a delicious lunch on their deck with the mountains at our feet. At times it seemed that we had a photo in front of us, because the view was so incredible. Along with the lunch, we enjoyed an exquisite selection of their wines: Rosé Premium Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2022, Viognier on lees, Blend Reserva (launch 2020), Cabernet Franc/Tannat and Tannat Viognier 2018.
We then toured their vineyard from which unique views can be appreciated, and visited their winery, which is already preparing for the 2023 harvest.
We love wineries that receive their owners, who transmit their passion for doing what they love.
Wineries are not just what they are because of their wines, but also because of the people who make them up. The quality of Alto de la Ballena wines speaks of those who work there day by day with such dedication.
It was undoubtedly a special day, that's how we all felt who were lucky enough to live it. Thank you Paula, Pablo and team for receiving us with such lovely details, and of course, to all the friends who accompanied us.
Until next time! Cheers
Photo: Tavis Davidson