Rediscovering the original mendoza roots
Rediscover the Roots of Traditional Old Vine Malbec Populations Casarena is here to stay. That is why when planting the new vineyards we knew that we were making a decision for 20, 30 or 50 years. The choices we made were measured cautiously because beyond ourselves, they engaged current markets needs but also generations to come. Historically, the vines were propagated through Massal Selection rather than using specific clones, as it is mostly done nowadays. But we were not sure about this. We wanted something special. Then we met Alejandro Sejanovich.

With the priceless help of Alejandro, former Vineyard Director for Catena Zapata, we conducted a malbec clonal &massal selection experiment. Working with his material from a number of old vine vineyards in the area, we purchased pruned budwood from these vineyards to plant in the projects new vineyards.

For those of us not trained in viticulture, talking about vine clones, massal selection might sound very complicated and mysterious. But Alejandro was very clear with us and we want to share with you his clear explanation.

Population: genetically speaking a population of vines means individuals that are all of the same variety (Eg. Malbec) but have slightly diverse genes that make them different. This situation causes that plants of the same variety are very different in production, clusters size, grain size, cluster compactness. And also about budding, flowering, veraison and maturity. At the end also it will also develop aromatic differences.

Massal selection:
this is when you select individual plants within a population and multiply them. Massal selection is a negative selection. Those plants which do not produce or have diseases are observed and then not selected. Then by multiplying this selection what is obtained is a new population with similar characteristics, but higher quality.

Clonal selection:
is selecting a single plant that is considered better and having it multiplied. Children are identical to the mother.

Differences:

When performing a Massal selection individuals are genetically different so there is variability in the vineyard. When you want to make high quality wines, this unevenness increases the complexity of the wines.
When performing a Clonal selection: individuals are genetically identical. Therefore there is no variability in the vineyard. When you want to produce large volumes of wine with adequate quality, this is one of the best options, since you can standardize production to the detriment of the complexity of the wine.
That is why in CASARENA we decided to performeMassal selections from different ancient populations planted in Mendoza.
Different populations were planted in our own lots throughout Casarena’s estate vineyards in Perdriel & Agrelo to study and develop these unique populations.
We are currently working with these populations:

Malbec:

• Bertona Population: 80 years old Malbec vineyard in Perdriel.
• Panquehua Population: old vineyard in Las Heras said to contain the original selection from Miguel Pouget.
• Altamira Population: populations Altamira and La Consulta, are probably from vineyards Furlotti and La Superior.
• Catena Population: it is from the native Mosso vineyard planted in Lunlunta between 1915 and 1925.
• Quiros Population: 75 years old Malbec vineyard in Las Compuertas
• Pasquin Population: 80 years old Malbec vineyard in Carrodilla
• Calise Population: 85 years old vineyard in Vistalba

Cabernet sauvignon:
• Blanco Population: 60 years old Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in Agrelo.
In the new finca (vineyard) we have added new populations:
• Malbec Pincolini Population: originary from Vistalba and Las Compuertas area.
• Malbec selections from La Consulta, Lobello and Eugenio Bustos (La Celia).
We are so happy with the results that very soon we will be releasing “Population” wines.
In addition to their old vine estate vineyards, CASARENA is also conducting ground breaking research into the unique character of old vine Malbec cuttings from the area’s most respected vineyards – preserving the unique heritage of Malbec in Luján de Cuyo region.