Often overshadowed by the wine producing regions of Argentina and Chile, Peru’s Ica region dares to compare. Few realize the quality of wines produced here, most likely because the grape growing region is quite small. Of the area, the most sophisticated is Tacama Winery, and there are just a few other major labels, such as Ocucaje, Tabernero, and Vista Alegre. Little do most know that it was actually from here that vine cultivation spread to Chile and Argentina.
Cultivation of grapes expanded very quickly in the Latin American region. In Mexico, grapes were cultivated since 1520, following the Spanish Conquest. In Peru, Francisco de Carabantes stood as the pioneer of vine growing during the 1540´s. Carabantes brought the first grape from the Canary Islands to Tacama, in the oasis of Ica, which is the oldest vineyard in Peru.
Ica (south of Lima), benefits from the cool air of the Humboldt current (a cold water current in the Pacific Ocean), much like Napa Valley. That is why, even though the region has just a fraction of the production compared to Chile or Argentina, and consequently is less known, the quality of its wines is a close contender.
Tacama is set on a beautiful Hacienda, surrounded by many acres of lush vineyards, where wine and Pisco (a fermented white grape brandy) are made, bottled, and exported. A dozen or so varieties of wine are bottled there, as are several of the world’s best Piscos and a few sparkling wines. During the 1920’s, Tacama imported technology, grapes, technicians and wine casks from France, and it wasn´t until many decades later that production of wine began as an industry.The Tacama vineyard is presently 200 hectares of alluvial soil.
The Gran Tinto is a combination of Malbec, Tannat and Petit Verdot grapes, that give this ruby red wine an overall light and fruity composure. The Seleccion Especial is significantly more complex. In“ Blanco de Blancos,” their Sauvignon Blanc, one can find exotic notes of pineapple and passion fruit, and its tasting reveals a good dense structure with notable harmony which makes this a most elegant wine. Unsurprisingly, it has received several awards worldwide. Good terroir, optimal weather, and a passion for excellence…what more can we ask for? Keep your eyes open for the new world of wines.
Guest post by our friend and wine expert JORGE TALI.
Jorge has a Bachelor’s Degree in Textile Engineering, and is founding member of the Peruvian Guild of Wine Specialists. He works as Head of Development for Latin American Investments.