Iluminado Paraje Altamira: interview with Pablo Navarrete, the creator of Argentina's finest wine
Conversation with a man like Pablo Navarrete is always more than just dialogue. Purposeful, sincere, and incredibly dedicated, Pablo Navarrete is an endless stream of inspiration, knowledge, and love for winemaking. From him, I managed to learn the secrets of creating the famous Iluminado Paraje Altamira and ask him about his most ambitious dreams.
Pablo navarrete, oenologist vinos de la luz, on winemaking and his plans
I remember my trip to Argentina with special trepidation. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean, I didn't even know what was waiting for me. The unique experiences I received in this part of the world helped me to rediscover the world of winemaking. Most of all, I was struck by a visit to the Vinos de La Luz winery. I was in awe of the nature of this distant country. The change of climatic zones and the pictures of nature are exciting. From the snowy peaks of Bariloche to the tropics of Iguazu Falls, Argentina is a must-see for any tourist!
And of course, the Mendoza region, where the Vinos de La Luz winery is located. The route from the city of Mendoza to the Uco Valley along with the endless orchard and luxurious alleys of vineyards looks like an amazing dream. It seems that you have already seen everything, but at some point, you open the Andes, the greatness of which is impossible to realize.
Mendoza is an authentic region with picturesque landscapes and a huge wine potential. The Argentine vineyards of Vinos de La Luz are an absolutely unique natural phenomenon. It was here that the oenologist Pablo Navarrete managed to create a new, incomparable wine Iluminado Paraje Altamira, which became the pearl of Vinos de La Luz and brought worldwide recognition to the brand.
Pablo, what brings you to wine-making?
I have been familiar with the world of winemaking since I was a child. Every summer I spent at my uncle's estate, where I watched with great interest how the vineyards were cultivated, the crops were harvested, and the wine was made. The aroma of freshly squeezed grape juice is always associated with my childhood! It was from this moment that my mutual love for winemaking began.
How did the collaboration with vinos de la luz began?
After graduating from university in Mendoza, I worked in wineries all over the region, but my dream was the Uco Valley. In 2012, I was lucky - Vinos de La Luz winery was looking for an oenologist and I took my chance. The brand's philosophy, which puts quality above all else, is completely aligned with my values. Vinos de La Luz gives me the opportunity to experiment and create wines in the regions of Argentina, Spain, and the United States.
When creating iluminado paraje altamira, have you ever thought that this wine can become a masterpiece?
Iluminado Paraje Altamira is a wine that every winemaker dreams of creating in their life. The Argentine Iluminado is the quintessence of the best characteristics, the grapes, the region, the unique microclimate of the Uco Valley, as well as the philosophy of Vinos de La Luz.
The harvest of 2020 has recently ended. what can you say about this grape?
This year's harvest was selected and grown by nature itself. From the moment the grapes were tied, low temperatures directly affected the formation of the berries. Thus, the weaker ones stopped their growth, while others, on the contrary, absorbed more light and energy for development. As a result, the number of grapes was naturally limited and we received not just high-quality raw materials, but the highest quality berries. The 2020 harvest is absolutely unique and promises to delight us with great wines.
Pablo, what new products are you currently working on?
Together with the Vinos de La Luz team, we are constantly experimenting, I would even call it creativity. Also, we will soon present our new release to the world – a monosort Malbec from different microterroirs. For this wine, we have collected grapes from Gualtallary, Vista Flores, and Pampa El Cepillo. In this drink, we wanted to convey the characteristics of each vineyard and demonstrate how one variety with the same genetics can differ in different microzones of the same region. The main features are four parameters – the soil, the microclimate, the altitude above sea level, and the influence of the person who selects these components.