“16 years ago we started a journey with my wife that started in Africa, followed by Brazil, Chile and finally we arrived in Argentina. When we walked on Cachi I fell in love with the place. As we were finishing the trip, I had the idea of buying him a souvenir: land in Cachi Adentro, land that no one wanted to buy at that time because there was nothing, no electricity, no water or cell phone signal. It was a bit crazy but I fell in love with the place and we thought it might be a good retreat for our lives. I never thought I would end up making the wine I do. The place had nothing.” So the story begins Christian Gotz in Argentina, a system analyst who devoted himself to working for banks in Zurich without having any contact with viticulture (other than drinking good world wine).
Today, on a farm nearly 2,700 meters above sea level, with the mountains guarding the vines, the project Wines inside It is starting to be talked about for its unique expression and for the strong commitment to strains that have a different expression in this terroir of Salta: Torrontés and Merlot.
“I didn’t think of making wine, that wasn’t the idea. My idea was a pension, an insurance, I wanted to get away from the western world that invaded me and that’s why we started this trip. But later, once settled in Cachi, a friend from Cafayate said to me “why don’t you set up a vineyard?” and since I was a bit of an engineer, I said “Well”. The problem is that selling only the grape the numbers did not shut me down and it occurred to me to vinify and bottle it. What I did not imagine was the wine that was going to come out of it”.
Today, Cachi acquires a lot of identity in terms of wines. The region’s Merlot is growing very well. In 2004, the movie between glasses, destroyed the image of Merlot by setting it up as an overly structured and “heavy” wine as opposed to the Californian Pinot Noirs that were trying to make their way into history through Hollywood. The result of this lobbying was that Merlot sales fell precipitously around the world and that for a long time variety has become a dirty word for some markets. But the truth is that Merlot is a very versatile variety that has many interesting expressions both in the varietal form and in the cuts, and that in Cachi gives amazing results. The cellar moon watcherfor example, geographically opposed to that of the Swiss, started with a tourist hut project, and was also surprised when, while vinifying Merlot from his vines, he found a different, delicate and fresh wine that could go out and fight the fight for the podium.
Christian walks the hillsides of his farm with his two dogs, they respond faithfully to his whistle. A climber from an early age, at only 11 years old he climbed the highest mountains in Switzerland with his father. With a very eclectic life, most of his career took place in IT, but he also worked in NGOs and in a Cultural Center organizing pop and punk rock concerts.
– How did you come to vinify Merlot?
– “It was my wife’s favorite strain, and I was looking for a wine that would give me acidity and a bit of structure. At first it was very difficult, it didn’t mature so much until we reached an expression like the one we have now. The same thing happened to us when betting on Torrontés. We are almost 3000 meters above sea level, which for a Torrontés is very high. I wanted to do it because it is a 100% Argentinian variety from the Valley. People told me to be careful ‘it won’t ripen’ so we planted it on a trellis and not on a vine as is the custom. We have a different Torrontés, it has quite a floral and mineral profile. It was a risk that I think was worth it.
With a very low production, Christian’s wines are only found in Argentina and Switzerland. When he saw that his wines had good prospects, he left for Europe to train. Today, after the pandemic, devote yourself full time to the vines in the hands of its two employees.
– Would you go back to your homeland?
– The idea was to come and goI thought so when I stopped working for Europe in 2015. I first spent eight months in Switzerland and the rest in Argentina, then it was the other way around, I spent most of my time in Cachi, but after the pandemic which forced me to stay, this rhythm was cut. Today making wines takes me all the time, I don’t know if it’s a big deal in terms of how many hours I put in, but it’s what I love to do. The funny thing is that I thought of it as a retreat from life and at 61 I work more than ever, wine is very demanding”.
– What potential do you see in Cachi Adentro?
– I think the best grapes in the country are produced here. The weather is ideal. Normally it almost never rains. The dry climate makes it very healthy and there is no need to cure diseases. The thermal amplitude and the altitude give wines of very good quality. The skins are thicker and in wine, the skin is everything. I was recently at a dinner with wine critic Tim Atkin and someone asked him what Argentina’s future was, what terroir he considered to have the greatest potential, and the famous goalscorer responded : “cachi”. This means that today everyone is looking for these lands to plant vines and explore which, in my case, happened completely by chance.