In 2018, the tale of Los Dragones unfolded when three enterprising brothers embarked on a familial winemaking project in Barreal, nestled within the captivating Calingasta Valley. The eldest, Andrés Biscaisaque, an avid mountaineer with over two decades of experience climbing the local Andes mountains, ventured into winemaking back in 2014. He named the project ‘Los Dragones’ after a peak in the Andes that he named, as he was the first person on earth to reach its summit. (In mountaineering etiquette, if you are the first person to summit a mountain, the naming rights are all yours.) And he didn’t stop there… Andrés has earned the honor of naming seven peaks above 16,400 feet in San Juan! Evidently drawn to the heights of San Juan for his mountaineering pursuits, Andrés seamlessly merged his zeal for sustainable agriculture and wine, laying the foundation for Los Dragones. Presently residing in Barreal, Andrés spearheads the viticulture and enology aspects of the winery, while his brothers, Martín and Fernando Biscaisaque, live in Buenos Aires and oversee the commercial side of the business.
Nestled at an altitude of 5,400 feet in the heart of Barreal, the Los Dragones farm rests at the base of the majestic Andes mountain range, adjacent to the right bank of the Los Patos River. The soil, primarily alluvial, receives enrichments from the main rivers and is characterized by igneous rocks from the mountain range. Falling within the Winkler IV zone, this region experiences over 350 days of annual sunshine, minimal rainfall (between 1-4 inches annually), and boasts the most significant thermal amplitude among Argentine wine-growing areas, averaging 73.8 °F from September to April. The farm, spanning 12 acres, hosts Malbec, Garnacha, Criolla Chica, Bonarda, Torrontés, and Muscat Blanco vines. Devoted to ecological practices, Los Dragones maintains biological corridors amid the vineyards, fostering biodiversity and ecological equilibrium.
Devoted to crafting wines that authentically reflect the region’s character, Los Dragones meticulously selects grapes not only from their Barreal vineyards but also from chosen plots owned by small producers in diverse areas of the valley, including Puchuzún, Hilario, and Sorocayense. Harvests are always manual, and grapes are gravity fed to concrete vessels where fermentations occur naturally with native yeasts. This approach is tailored to capture the distinctiveness of the region with the utmost precision. For aging, Los Dragones employs an eclectic mix of petite tanks, concrete eggs, and French barrels of varying sizes and ages, ensuring a nuanced and refined expression of their wines.
The Los Dragones portfolio includes three ranges, all named after different peaks in the Andes: Los Dragones, Alfil, and Maida. Los Dragones is the flagship range, and includes a Malbec and Torrontes from the Calingasta Valley vineyards. Alfil, meaning ‘bishop,’ is comprised of a claret and tinto, both from co-ferments made from the fruit of 80-year-old vines in the most charming zone of Calingasta: Paraje Hilario. Finally, Maida is the experimental range that includes a Malbec and Tinto de Corte. With Maida, Andrés allows himself to experiment with different regions, grape varieties, harvesting points and winemaking methods, all of which may change vintage to vintage.