Where the road ends our dream begins,’ says Christoph Ehrbar, Colomé’s CEO. Colomé has certainly been chasing those dreams more than most and has been pushing the envelope in terms of high altitude winemaking since 1831.
The bodega is settled at 2,300m asl. but its four vineyards – all overseen by Winemaker Thibaut Delmotte - stretch far higher, most notably one in particular which is titled Altura Máxima (the clue is very much in the name), planted at 3,111m above sea level and which stands proud and tall as the highest vineyard in the world.
The estate was acquired by Ehrbar’s father in law, the now-retired businessman Donald Hess, in 2001 after he fell for its charms three years earlier while on a scouting trip aimed at sourcing premium Argentinian terroir to complement his winemaking interests in other countries.
Swiss-born Hess is almost as well known for his art collection as his winemaking exploits, so its apposite that Colomé houses a museum dedicated solely to the work of James Turrell; a distinguished contemporary artist whose pieces and installations are centered around light and space, making them a perfect match for Salta’s crystalline blue skies and abundance of sunlight.
Accompanying this gallery space is Colomé’s posada; a magical nine-room building, to enjoy starry skies and a radiant sun that overflows the energy and mystery of the Colomé experience.
Colomé has always tended carefully to its traditional roots, as displayed by the release of a new Malbec called 1831, which is crafted from grapes grown on its small Santa Jakoba vineyard where the vines first broke ground the very same year as Colomé’s genesis. ‘Because of the remoteness of Colomé, this vineyard was never affected by phylloxera, which makes them the oldest pre-phylloxera vines in the world’ says Ehrbar. ‘We have learned from our ancestors. It’s easy to produce good wine; the only thing you need is good grapes, and good grapes come from great vineyards, so all you need is great terroir.’