In 2004, I was poking around the southern fringes of Mendoza, down where the soil gets thinner and the horizon wider. Here, the foothills seems more prominent than the Andes themselves, which allows more of the weather systems from the Pacific side to intrude. I came across a vineyard that just seemed wilder and more primitive than its neighbors. It spoke to me. You could just feel the elemental power of the site. Somehow at this time, even though the Europeans and wannabe winery owners from Buenos Aires were picking up every vineyard they could find, this one had been overlooked, likely because it had not been farmed for several years. We quickly took over the management of the vineyard, and it soon proved to be our top vineyard and the source of Vale la Pena. Vale la Pena is a true reflection of the vineyard: powerful, wild, complex, and full of character. It is not made in the ultra ripe, ultra oaky, and ultra viscous style so beloved of some critics. Rather, it is a pure expression of malbec, deep, dark, and fragrant. It is undeniably powerful, but like pure malbec, it finishes with an intriguing and haunting lightness on the palate. The 2007 vintage was particularly rich, and should reward a bit of aging.