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Sipping with Susana Balbo, Argentina’s First Woman Winemaker

Susana Balbo, Founder of Susana Balbo Wines, has a career history of firsts: The first Argentinian female winemaker, first Argentinean woman to become a global wine consultant and first Latin American woman to chair the W20 Summit. She has served as a member of Argentina’s parliament representing the Mendoza region, and she served three terms as President of Wines of Argentina during which time Argentinian wines gained global recognition and achieved record export growth.

Argentina’s Susana Balbo is woman of many firsts.

Balbo believes to lead is to set an example for future generations. Interestingly, her original dream to study abroad and become a nuclear physicist in the 1970s was discouraged by her parents. She told us at the time, things were different politically in Argentina, and her parents wanted her to stay closer to home in Mendoza. Instead, Balbo studied viticulture and became the first woman in Argentina to earn an oenology degree. Initially, she worked in her family’s viticultural business and then spread her wings and expanded her credentials by working with Michael Torino Winery, Martins and Catena Zapa and then consulting for numerous global wine brands in South America, Australia and Europe.

Susana Balbo Wines in Mendoza

After 20 years producing and consulting for other wineries, she founded Susana Balbo Wines in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. Balbo said her vision was always to make high-quality wines  with beautiful fruit and elegant balanced finish, approachable when young but with promising ageabilty. Today, Balbo runs her eponymous winery with her daughter Ana, a graduate of University San Andrés in Buenos Aires, and son José, a graduate of Unversity California at Davis.  www.susanabalbowines.com

Luján de Cuyo is a cool, mountainous sub-region in Mendoza known for its Malbec

Balbo spends much of her time on the road. We were lucky enough to catch a few minutes with her to share her vision on leadership and mentorship for women on The Connected Table SIPS. Balbo discussed why she chose to embrace both the role of entrepreneur and public servant, holding a position in Argentina’s parliament and leading the W20 Summit, whose mission is to create a more sustainable business and civil environment for women in South America and beyond.

A portion of this sponsored podcast was donated to Les Dames d’Escoffier’s Carol Brock Scholarship, in recognition of the Founder of this prestigious organization of leading women in food, fine beverage and hospitality. www.ldny.org  www.ldei.org

Click this image to listen on iHeart. Also available on iTunes, Spreaker, Stitcher and “The Connected Table Page” at Sante Magazine.


The U.S. importer for Susana Balbo Wines is Folio Fine Wine Partners. Here area few selections we tried:

Brioso 2016. A blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, 16% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot. Aged 15 months in 100% new French oak barrels. It shows sweet red and black fruits, subtle oak and a great backbone of tannins and elegant grip over florality from the Cabernet Sauvignon. Great aging potential.

 

Brioso Signature White Blend 2017 45% Semillón, 30% Torrontés, 25% Sauvignon Blanc. 4 months in 60% first use French oak barrels and 40% second use. An aromatic wine with floral and citrus notes combined with touches of fresh grass, white fruits and orange.  Its finish is mineral and persistent. Great potential for aging.

 

Nosotros 2013 – 100% Malbec aged 16 months, 80% in new French oak and 20% in second use French oak. This is Balbo’s iconic wine, vibrant. intense and elegant, a balance of dark fruits and spice. Great aging potential.

 

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Michel Rolland Embraces Malbec in Argentina

Michel Rolland has been called “The Flying Winemaker.” The Bordeaux-based oenologist consults for more than 80 estates and in 13 countries around the world. When he’s not boarding planes to another far-flung wine region, you may find him riding a horse surveying his vineyards in Argentina.

Photo source: www.michelrolland-argentinaexperience.com

Rolland is a partner with four Bordeaux familiars in Clos de los Siete, seven estates located on 2000 acres in Argentina’s Uco Valley  Mendoza at the foothills of the Andes. Here, temperatures vary widely from day to night which helps produce wines with high tannins and concentrated color. The pebble and clay soils help drain the melting snow coming from the Andes, while the vineyards’ south to southwest locations soak up the sun.

All of Clos de los Siete wines are Malbec blends known for their refined style, ageability, and value. All are priced under $20/bottle. They are imported by Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits are the number one Malbec blend from the Argentina in the U.S.A.

Recently we sat down with Michel to taste of a few of the wines, including a 2015, 2011 and 2006. All were well-structured and less fruit intensive than many Argentine Malbecs. What struck us about the 2006, and even the 2011, was how well the wines aged.

Rolland said 2011 was a tough year since many of the vineyards were destroyed by hailstorms. Yields were low but overall, the vintage was good with strong aging potential. He noted that the 2011 was the first vintage to use a little Cabernet Franc in the blend. The younger 2015 was from a cooler year and showed ripe fresh fruit. The 2006, a warmer year, showed the wine’s ageability and potential to enjoy for perhaps another four years. Info: www.closdelossiete.com 

Listen to Michel Rolland here on The Connected Table SIPS on iHeart.com/iHeart App

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Sipping with Argentina’s Santiago Mayorga

 

MOUNTAINS AND WINERY

Nieto Senetiner is one of

Argentina’s great wine producers.  The history of Nieto Senetiner Winery dates back to 1888, when Italian immigrants founded it and grew the first vineyards in Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo, province of Mendoza. Over the first decades of the last century, the winery was run

by several families who succeeded in passing on the secret of fine wine making and the love for their land.

In 1969 it was acquired by the families Nieto and Senetiner, who expand the facilities signalling the beginning of a new stage of growth and brand development. In 1998 it becomes part of the Grupo de Negocios de Molinos Río de la Plata.

DAVID WITH VINTNER

The Connected Table SIPS! visits with winemaker Santiago Mayorga who discusses Argentina’s wine making history, unique climate and terroir, including how vines adapt to high elevation growing conditions. and wine making philosophies. Also discussed are the country’s main wine making regions and some of the most important varietals including Malbec and Bonarda. This show is brought to you by Talk 4 Radio on the Talk 4 Media Network. Listen here

Learn more about Nieto Senetiner here:

Twitter@nietosenetiner

Facebook@NietoSenetiner

 

UPDATED THE CONNECTED TABLE SIPS BANNER

The Connected Table SIPS! podcasts spotlight wine producers and distillers around the world. If you’d like to record a podcast email melanie@www.theconnectedtable.com for information.

 

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Aurelio Montes: Chile’s Father & Son Winemaking Duo

Chile's Montes Winery
Chile’s Montes Winery

Fascinated by the winemaking business at an early age, Aurelio Montes, Sr. has spent a lifetime raising the bar for Chilean wines. First as a winemaker at Undurraga, and then as founder of his own eponymous winery, Viña Montes, where with the release of his now legendary Montes Alpha M, he was the first to make what the Chileans refer to as an “Icon” wine, a high end Bordeaux style blend made from the classic French varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Others have certainly followed, and Chilean Bordeaux-style blends have become a benchmark for South American wine.

Aurelio Montes Senior
Aurelio Montes, Sr.

It all started with the shared vision of Aurelio and his partner Douglas Murray, who founded Viña Montes in 1988 with the dream to elevate Chilean wine in the eyes of the world, through the shared vision that Chile had the climate and terroir to create wines that would not only stand the test of time, but would stand up to, and possibly surpass, their more well-known European counterparts.

Aurelio Montes, Junior
Aurelio Montes, Jr

Twenty five years later, Montes has done just that and become one of the truly legendary brands in the world of wine, and Aurelio, now with his son Aurelio, Jr., who helms the family’s interests in Argentina, namely the Mendoza-based Kaiken winery, remains at the forefront of South America’s winemaking industry.

Kaiken Winery, Mendoza, Argentina
Kaiken Winery, Mendoza, Argentina

Both Aurelio Sr. & Jr. join us on The Connected Table LIVE!  Wednesday October 21, 2:28pm, EST, to talk about their family’s winemaking legacy and wines, both in Chile and Argentina. We’ll also discuss their newest ventures in California: Napa Angel, a Napa Valley Cabernet; and Star Angel, series of wines from Paso Robles Syrah and Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir.

Connect:  www.monteswines.com  www.kaikenwines.com

 

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