Mendoza, Susana Balbo Wines, 2013
Having a powerful, fruity, harmonious and balanced structure, the Brioso shows both opulence and elegance. The scents of black currant and blackberry jelly, prunes, coconut and "After Eight", bergamot and vanilla raise expectations which aren’t disappointed in the palate: Velvety tannins and succulence fill the taste.
|Origin:||Argentinien / Mendoza|
|Site / vineyard:||auf 1080 m.ü.M.|
|Grape variety:||Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot|
|Ripening potential:||3 to 10 years|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Châteaubriand, Filet Wellington, Spiced grillades, Bistecca fiorentina, T-Bone steak, Hearty stew with pulses|
|Vinification:||fully destemmed, long must fermentation, fermentation in steel tank, Pumping over|
|Harvest:||hand-picking, strict selection|
|Maturation:||in new barriques|
|Maturation duration:||15 months|
Where nostalgia tangoes with innovation
Snow-covered Andean peaks and salt lakes, deserts, rugged mountain villages, elegant colonial cities, vibrant metropolises, red canyons and green valleys – Argentinian has them all. And, of course, excellent wine. Argentina is named after the Latin word for silver, “Argentum,” because of the treasures expected to be found there. Among others, homesick colonialists and Catholic priests had a hand in cultivating these liquid treasures, and today there are approximately 220,000 hectares of vineyards.
Mendoza: Malbec and more
Whenever someone talks about Argentinian wine, they generally mean wines from Mendoza. Roughly 60 percent of all Argentine wines are produced around the metropolis of the same name. In particular, Malbec, a red wine variety originating from southwestern France, has found a new home here, providing focused, well-structured wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay also thrive. The best wines result from high elevations, in the foothills of the Andes
Susana Balbo Wines
The mighty Aconcagua watches over the plain of Mendoza, 1000 kilometres from Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires. A barren, semi-arid land where Jesuits and Franciscans, after the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, discovered favourable natural conditions for viticulture.
At 1000 to 3000 meters above sea level lies this oldest and most important wine region of the country. The village of Agrelo, near Luján de Cuyo, is home to the bodega founded by Susana Balbo in 1999. She is a woman with an impressive career. In 1981, she became the first woman in Argentina to successfully complete her degree in œnology. In 2015, Drinks Business magazine named her “Woman of the Year”. In 2018, she was recognised as one of the ten most influential women in the international wine trade. She also presided over the national marketing organisation Wines of Argentina for several years.
New Home, New Fortune
The Malbec once belonged to the classic assortment of varieties from Bordeaux. But it was demanding to cultivate, and in the changeable climate of the Bordelais it often became green and herbaceous, so winemakers replaced it with Merlot in the middle of the 20th century. Luckily, the Malbec found a new home in Argentina. In 1868, a Frenchman brought the first stocks along to the land of the Andes. Today, the Malbec is the most-planted variety there. Especially in Mendoza, it shows what it can do: it yields very dark, well-structured wines with aromas of black fruit, violets and game. They just call out for an Argentinean steak! The Malbec has its origins in Cahors, in southwestern France. There, it is kept today under the name Cot. Due to their earthy tannins, in the middle ages the growths from this area were also called "the black wines of Cahors".
Forefather of the Bordeaux varieties
The Cabernet Franc is one of the oldest varieties of Bordelais and a parent of three other red grapes in the Bordeaux assortment: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère. It is distinguished by its complex, flavourful bouquet of raspberry, graphite, violet, liquorice and white pepper. In addition, it presents round, crisp tannins which turn out less strongly than those of Cabernet Sauvignon. While the Cabernet Franc always appears as part of a blend in Bordeaux, it is pressed alone on the Loire. The most renowned appellations are Chinon and Bourgueil. Incidentally, the Cabernet originates not in Bordeaux but in the Spanish Basque Country. Cabernet owes its name to the Latin “carbon”, meaning black.
Bordeaux’s secret weapon
It is commonly said that the Petit Verdot originated in Bordeaux. But genetically, it is closer to a group of vines from near the Pyrenees, which are most likely descended from wild clematis. In French, these wild plants are called “lambrusques”, and the Petit Verdot is also known under the synonym Lumbrusquet. It is a high quality grape: very dark and spicy with notes of cassis and graphite, plenty of robust tannins and strong acidity. Most major Bordeaux contain a small proportion of Petit Verdot. Appropriately, it is valued wherever wines are produced according to the Bordeaux recipe. For example, in Italian Maremma or in California, where it covers the largest area worldwide. It is almost never vinified purely by itself. Incidentally, its name, derived from “vert”, meaning green, alludes to its Achilles heel: in cool weather it tends to form small, seedless green grapes.
The backbone of Bordeaux
The Cabernet Sauvignon gives the Bordeaux its backbone, yielding deep violet wines with powerful tannins and endless ripening potential. It is the top dog in Médoc, and is placed in all five premier crus of Bordelais. When young, it often appears strict and unapproachable, but with advancing years, its tannins round off. It is wonderfully velvety, and yet always maintains its freshness. Typical flavours include cassis, graphite and cedar. Wherever Cabernet Sauvignon is found, Merlot is not far away. It complements the robust structure of Cabernet with softness, fruit and richness. The Cabernet Sauvignon is the most-exported vine in the world. It delivers persuasive qualities in Italy as an ingredient of the Super Tuscan, or as the flagship variety from California. There, it is lovingly titled “Cab Sauv”. Meat fans should be aware that it fantastically accompanies a grilled entrecôte. The family tree of Cabernet Sauvignon is surprising: its parents are Cabernet Franc and the white Sauvignon blanc.