The ‘Alfil’ line focuses on old vines from the most charming zone of Calingasta, Paraje Hilario, in the San Juan province of Argentina. The Calingasta Valley is an 80-mile-long stretch of land between two Andean mountain ranges. Hilario, which lies near the middle of the valley on the eastern side of the Los Patos River, is known for its old vines and wines with zippy acidity. This area has an intense diurnal shift, often ranging more than twenty degrees Fareinheit from day to night. The vineyard at Finca Maggio was planted over 80 years ago in colluvial soils, and in combination with the high altitude and high diurnal range, leads to deeply expressive and interesting wines. The name ‘Alfil’ means ‘bishop’ in English and refers to the eponymous Andean mountain peak where Andrés spent many nights playing chess in campfire light with his mountaineering friend, Pancho Bugallo, the winemaker at El Montañista.
The grapes were hand harvested and brought back to the cellar for spontaneous co-fermentation in a concrete egg with 85% whole berries and the rest whole cluster. After 30 days, the skins were pressed and the wine was sent mostly back to concrete with 10% going to old French oak barrels. After 10 months, the wine was racked to tank and bottled, unfined and unfiltered, with just 29 ppm sulfur.