Winner of our first Zero to Hero competition, as voted by thousands of Angels
- Winner of the $500K Zero to Hero winemaker awards as voted for by you - from the thousands of wines entered! Watch this space for some exclusive new wines...
- Also voted Argentina's 2004 Winemaker of the Year. Jose was born to be a winemaker, his family have over 100 years of winemaking experience and to this day they still work together, as a family, to make the very best wines they can.
- Agrelo (Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza) is considered Argentina’s premier wine growing region. Jose selects the best parcels from his family vineyards located in this viniculture paradise.
Jose Hernandez Toso's Story
"The Toso family has over 100 years of winemaking history, my great-grandfather was Pascual Toso and he came to Argentina from Italy in the late 1800’s and established vineyards in the lush Mendoza oasis at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Today Pascual Toso is considered to be one of the founders of the Argentine wine industry and I grew up within a family where wines were part of every-day life. From a young age I was helping in the vineyards, cleaning in the winery, picking at harvest time etc. and I loved to listen intently to everyone’s passionate discussions about wine.
Growing-up around vineyards and in wineries meant I was constantly exposed to the tastes and aromas that surround winemaking. I developed a natural heightened sensory perception of aromas and flavours, not only because I was encouraged to taste and smell everything around me but also because I was asked to explain them and in understanding those elements I discovered the science behind wine. However, you cannot rely on science alone, you need to also apply the creativity and instinct of an artist, and science cannot always answer exactly why it feels right to pick the grapes on a certain day or why a vintage needs different handling or oak aging, that also comes from experience and intuition.
At the age of 17 I was given my first opportunity to work as a winemaker at the family winery in Barrancas, Mendoza and without any formal training I successfully managed my first harvest, at that stage in my life it was the most exhausting and challenging experience I had ever faced but I enjoyed it immensely and knew I wanted to be a winemaker. But I needed more experience and training, so I went to study and work in Europe and spent 6 years working in leading German and Italian wineries.
Agrelo (Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza) has long been considered Argentina’s premier wine growing region and this unique terrior imparts great personality in the wines. The vineyards are at an altitude of 980 metres, so there is marked thermal amplitude between night and day, with the cooler nights ensuring higher acidity and freshness in the wine. This also provides a longer grow time, allowing the vines to draw in more character and complexity, and the extra UV light at higher altitudes increases the skin thickness, improving vibrancy and colour.
In making our wines, we select the best parcels from our family vineyards located in this viniculture paradise. The winery is equipped with the latest technology: small stainless steel tanks, French and American oak barrels, and the most modern equipment. We strongly believe that to maintain our high level of quality, we must continue to only produce small quantities. Based on this belief, we seek to bring together state of the art winemaking knowledge with the age-old traditions we have inherited from our family. We pay obsessive attention to each detail and that makes the difference between a good and a great wine, trying to learn something new each year.
It is worth highlighting that our winery is named after the Mendoza’s indigenous Indians, the Huarpe Indians (pronounced ‘Yarpe’) and they were the first to direct the snow melt waters of the Andes Mountains into irrigation channels that bring life to what is otherwise a very dry and arid dessert, irrigation is still used today. Not only do we honour their name but also their language and each of our wines uses Huarpe words, Taymente means ‘Roots of Eternal Life’.
I am very passionate and committed to representing the best of what the terrior offers and believe this is the only true way to produce outstanding wines and this is best achieved through minimal intervention, thus giving the variety the best chance to express its own character and that of the place where it was grown. We always seek the best possible expression of the varieties we grow, so Naked Wines customers will be able to experience the purity of that variety and gain a sense of place, something that I have been working to produce all of my life.
I loved having the opportunity to study and work in Europe, I feel privileged to have been able to learn my craft at wineries and educational establishments who boast hundreds of years of history. Whilst in Germany I also met my wife Anna and that has resulted in a loving marriage with 2 children, Anna and my children bring me great joy every day. In 2004, whilst Chief Winemaker at leading premium Argentine winery Luigi Bosca, my industry colleagues nominated me Argentine Winemaker of the Year and that was a great honour. Starting Huarpe Wines with my brother Max and having the freedom to craft wines with my own personality is a dream realised, made even more powerful as it is an independent family operation where I get to work not only with my brother Max but also my wife Anna, who runs the winery office.
We have been working towards being fully organic and our 2012 vintage was the first to be officially certified organic, so launching these wines in 2013-14 will be an exciting time for us and into the future we will continue our focus on minimal intervention and producing wines that allow varieties to display true character and reflect where they are grown.
Being voted Argentina’s 2004 Winemaker of the Year was a significant moment in my life and a great honour as it is decided by my colleagues in the industry. But I have to say thank you to the Naked Wines Archangels for choosing the Huarpe Taymente Malbec amongst 65 others they tasted, there is no truer way of judging the quality of a wine than having it selected by wine buying enthusiasts. The whole Huarpe team are delighted to have received this recognition, we look forward to the first wines arriving in the UK and reading the comments from Naked Wines’ customers."
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