- Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
“The most impressive progression in the last few years could be that of Matías Riccitelli. It’s always interesting and fun tasting with Riccitelli, who this year showed me some new bottlings and the consolidation of some labels that were new the previous time. His business has grown to 400,000 bottles per vintage, and the quality keeps going up. When you can grow quality and quantity at the same time, it means you must be doing something right. Riccitelli is one of the names to really follow in Argentina, one of the greatest progressions in the last few years and one of the more exciting portfolios I tasted in Argentina in this round.” —Luis Gutiérrez
“Winemaking,” says Matías Riccitelli, “is not for cowards.”
A breakout star from a young age, Riccitelli was brought up in a family and region steeped in winemaking. Born in Cafayate, Salta, a small village in northern Argentina where winemaking is an omnipresent trade and way of life, he grew up between Cafayate and Mendoza, studying and working with his father and mentor, legendary winemaker Jorge Riccitelli. From there, he went on to travel much of the wine world, learning along the way, and returned to Mendoza to serve as chief winemaker for two of Argentina’s top wineries, Fabre Montmayou and Bodega Norton.
Matías Riccitelli started his boutique winery in 2009, located in Las Compuertas at 1100 meters above sea level. It is the highest area of Lujan de Cuyo, and here he tends 20 hectares of ungrafted old vineyards. Matías also works with small, independent growers that own their lands at the bottom of the Andes halfway between 1000 and 1700 meters above sea level - in Gualtallary, Chacayes, Altamira and La Carrera. All harvests are conducted by hand and fermentation takes place in small concrete vats and concrete eggs. Purity and delicacy in winemaking are prized by Matías and great care is taken in preserving the fruit’s singularity in order to obtain vibrant wines.
In 2015 a new project was begun: old vineyards of Semillon, Merlot and Malbec were discovered and reclaimed in Argentinian Patagonia. The vineyards are located in the Rio Negro high valley and were planted in the late 1960’s. The resulting wines are fresh, intensely aromatic and highly balanced.