Luca Winery Debuts New Wine from Argentina's Original Double Massal Selection Syrah Vineyard

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Luca Wines' recent release signals winery owner Laura Catena's ongoing commitment to work with one-of-a-kind vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina. Using high altitude, cool-climate Syrah grown by pioneering grape grower Luis Laborde in Argentina's first Syrah vineyard, Catena has crafted a world class wine in a region just now becoming known for this grape variety.

Luis Laborde was a true pioneer for his time

Luca Winery, the Argentine winery famed for producing fine wines in partnership with small family growers, has released its Luca "Laborde Double Select," produced from Argentina's first double massal selection Syrah vineyard.

Over half a century ago, viticulturist Luis Laborde began creating what is believed to be Argentina's first Syrah vineyard planted through double massal selection. Laborde first traveled through France's Rhone Valley and brought back a selection of the best mix of Syrah vines (not clones) back to Mendoza. After planting them in a local research vineyard and tracking each vine's quality, he again selected the best of the best individual vines to plant in his own 10-acre vineyard in Argentina's Uco Valley.

"Luis Laborde was a true pioneer for his time," says Laura Catena. "In the 1960's, when he went to France in search of the finest Syrah plants to import to Argentina, there were no Syrah plantings in Washington State, almost none in California, South Africa or Chile -- all New World regions that today are making a name with Syrah."

Laborde had a vision for Syrah in Argentina, and he was right to think that Syrah would perform well in Mendoza. Because of the cool mountain climate and the very sunny dry days, Syrah is ideally suited to Mendoza's high altitude climate for many of the same reasons that Malbec is so well suited to Mendoza. Both Malbec and Syrah are varieties that benefit from intense sunlight and a cool climate, developing more intense aromatics and greater tannin levels under these conditions.

Catena continues, "The Laborde vineyard is not only unique for its double massal selection, but also for the fact that the plants are own-rooted (ungrafted), which I always prefer because it makes it so much easier to keep yields low and achieve plant balance." She adds, "Own-rooted Syrah vineyards are practically non-existent outside of Australia, and even in Australia old vine acreage is extremely limited."

The 45-year-old Laborde vineyard is a real gem. The purity and density of the Luca Syrah speaks to Laborde's passion for Syrah and to his vision that Syrah could make a great wine in Mendoza, Argentina.

Mendoza now has more land planted to Syrah (22,000 acres) than California.

Luca Laborde Double Select Syrah 2006, 91 points, The Wine Spectator, September 12, 2008
Suggested Retail Price: $25

Luca Wines is imported to the US by Vine Connections of Sausalito, CA. Vine Connections pioneered the first portfolio of boutique Argentine wines in the U.S. in 1999, and continues to focus on authentic, native-made wines.

For more information on Luca Wines:
Dan Fredman, 323-899-9463,

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