Carmen – Durazno

At the end of the Devonian period 400 million years ago, there were numerous tectonic events and erosion associated with the Gondwana glacial period–when the continents we know of today as America and Africa, began to separate.

During this era there was a shallow prehistoric sea (Devonian sea) in this region which transported small grains of sand (La Paloma sandstones), the result of erosion of primary rocks of volcanic origin, rich in quartz and feldspar minerals, depositing them in layers in the seabed. These later conglomerated, giving the appearance of rock (sedimentary rock), but was actually quite fragile. Numerous deceased marine animals were covered by these layers of sand, their shape leaving an imprint (ichnofossils).

After the sea dried up in the Cretaceous period 100 million years ago, the sandstone deposits continued, but in a more continental climate. Moved by the wind in a dry climate (Mercedes Formation), the sand grains were slightly larger and masses of calcium carbonate (calcareous clasts) were formed. At the end of this period, another climatic change occurred, bringing more humid conditions causing a release of silica and iron oxide with limestone intercalations, forming finer sand grains, and therefore an increase in clay.

In Uruguay, these Devonian and Cretaceous sandstones are the only ones of their kind that withstood the erosive wear of the ensuing climatic changes endured by the planet for millions of years until reaching the current climate: temperate to warm, with an average annual temperature of almost 18ºC (64ºF) and evenly distributed annual rainfall. Under these conditions, plant life flourished, enriching the modern soil with organic matter, in a substrate with clays but very rich in fine sand from the sedimentary rock that gave rise to it. When we studied its viticultural potential, we saw that the combination of a soil that allows rainwater to percolate easily due to its sand component, in a nutritionally poor substrate that restricts vegetative development, and the slightly higher temperature than traditional Terroirs of the country due to being 170 km from the sea, would allow for complete ripening of long-cycle and vigorous varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, among others. We, therefore, were able to obtain high concentrations of anthocyanins and ripened seeds, producing wines with excellent volume and soft tannins.