Gabriel Dvoskin worked as a journalist for 15 years, living and traveling throughout Asia and Europe. A musician and a writer, he lived in Paris and worked as a war correspondent in the 1990s. At the same time, Gabriel discovered a passion for wine and viticulture, particularly the wines of Burgundy, Barolo, and the Mosel. This led to time as a harvest assistant and vineyard hand at esteemed wineries in the Rhône and in Burgundy. Eventually he decided to change careers and to devote himself to wine and winemaking full-time.
Returning to Argentina in 2007, Gabriel knew what he was looking for: a cool vineyard site, suited to organic and biodynamic agriculture, with calcareous soils. Wines made with limited intervention in the cellar from these sorts of sites in Europe were the wines that had captivated him; he wanted to make wine in these styles in Argentina. In El Cepillo, at the cold southern end of the Uco Valley of Mendoza, Gabriel found the region he was seeking. A special microclimate, widely considered too cold for vines, sets the area apart from the largely sunny and warmer Mendoza region.
But it was the unique soils, composed of three layers of distinct calcareous sediments, that really drew him to El Cepillo. From there, Gabriel set out to meticulously map the local geological formations and soil types, collaborating with geologists and local farmers, as he sought out the precise microclimate and soil profile on which to plant vines. In the end he decided on a site at the meeting point of the fluvial and alluvial sedimentary layers which had been successively washed down from the heights of the Andes. Made up of a mix of calcium carbonate, sand, and round river stones, these soils are highly acidic. Gabriel felt that they offered the right conditions, with the cool climate, to produce fresh wines characterized by minerality and tension.
His location found, Gabriel planted 8 hectares of Malbec and 2 hectares of Pinot Noir in 2009, at roughly 990 meters of elevation between the Río Tunuyán and the Arroyo de los Papagayos. The heights of the Chilean and Argentine Andes frame the vineyards to the west. The area is quite cold: frosts are a constant enemy in the spring and the grapes ripen slowly on the vine. Even in warm years, the wines demonstrate a freshness and structure that is uncommon in Argentinian wine.
Gabriel has worked organically in the vineyard since it was planted, and Canopus is certified organic by Letis and currently pursuing biodynamic certification. In the cellar, Gabriel employs only neutral vessels: primarily concrete, but also used barrels, and amphorae from tinajero Juan Padilla in Spain. He almost always includes some portion of the stems during fermentation, making some wines 100% whole cluster, but more commonly employing tea-like infusions of whole-cluster bunches in destemmed juice. But the goal is always to reflect the place and to translate the character of his carefully farmed fruit without excessive embellishment in the cellar – to make wines of terroir, rather than wines of technique.
Pintom Pet Nat comes from north-facing, younger vine Pinot Noir. After a harvest by hand, the grapes got a few hours of skin contact and were then pressed and fermented in concrete with native yeasts. The wine was bottled with 15 grams of sugar a la methode ancestrale or petillant naturel.
Nox Pet Nat 100% Malbec from 20-year-old vines planted on calcareous limestone rich soils at 1090m elevation. The grapes were harvested by hand and pressed without skin contact, then started fermentation in plastic fermenters. The wine was bottled after 1 month with approximately 15g residual sugar to develop bubbles in the ancestral method. Fermentation continued and the wine rested for 7 months before release.
Pintom Rosado Subversivo comes from northwest and southeast facing vines planted by Canopus in 2010. The first grapes were harvested by hand, direct pressed and left to ferment. The last ¼ or so of the harvested grapes were left whole cluster and put into mesh bags that were deposited into the fermented juice and left to infuse the wine for 6 months in concrete. The wine was bottled without fining, filtration and 30 ppm’s of SO2 total.
Pintom Pinot Noir comes from northwest and southeast-facing vines planted by Canopus in 2010. After a harvest by hand, the first grapes to come in were de-stemmed and kept whole berry with fermentation started via a pied-de-cuve in macrobins; the rest of the grapes were fermented whole berry in concrete, and the wine was raised in neutral 225-liter French oak barrels. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration and 30 ppm’s sulfur total.
Malbec de Sed comes from 2 vineyards planted in 2010, with some of the fruit provided by a local/friend grower Javier Martini. After a harvest by hand, the grapes were de-stemmed and left whole berry to ferment in concrete tanks with a short maceration of 7 days. The wine was then raised in concrete and bottled without fining, filtration, and 49 ppm’s of total SO2.
Y La Nave Va Malbec Sin Sulfitos 100% Malbec from small parcel of .4 hectares within the Canopus vineyards of 12-year-old vines planted on calcareous alluvial rocks, sand and limestone at 1080m elevation. This parcel yields smaller berries with thinner skins due to its particularly cold character and uniquely calcareous soils. The grapes were harvested by hand and 75% was destemmed, then fermented with the skins in concrete tanks for 10 days, then raised in used French oak barrels for 7 months. After resting, the wine was bottled without fining, filtering or sulfur addition and then rested in bottle for 2 months before release. Y La Nave Va Malbec 100% Malbec from 4 hectares of organically farmed 12-year-old vines planted on calcareous alluvial rocks, sand and limestone at 1080m elevation. The grapes were harvested by hand and 75% was destemmed, then fermented with the skins in concrete tanks for roughly a week, then raised in used French oak barrels for 12 months. The wine was bottled without fining or filtering and rested a further 10 months before release.