What To Drink Now: Mendoza & The Americans

Vines of Mendoza, photo by Gary Cogill

I recently did a handful of posts on Mendoza’s stellar wines on D Magazine’s SideDish. To wrap up the discussion,  we raise our glass to several Americans who headed south to make wine in Argentina, as well as a few from 100% Argentine producers. Most wines are available here via Wine.com.

In 1998 four longtime friends came together to create one of the finest wineries in Argentina,
Achaval Ferrer, led by American born, Argentine breed, Santiago Achaval. Achaval fell in love with wine while at graduate school at Stanford. Weekend trips to Napa and Sonoma got him hooked on wine, leading to a career change in the early 1990s from business to wine. The group founded Achaval-Ferrer Winery next to their
Finca Bella Vista Vineyard in Lujan de Cuyo where original, ungrafted 110-year-old vines still
produce concentrated, low-yielding, highly structured Malbec.

Owning four historic Mendoza vineyards, the winery creates four distinct Finca selections.
Achaval-Ferrer Finca Altamira in Uco Valley layers dark fruit, licorice, and earthy herb with a
velvety texture. From 110-year-old vines, Achaval-Ferrer Finca Bella Vista is smooth, balanced
and lush, with dark cherry, toasted spice, and pepper. Owned today by SPI Group, owners of
Stoli Vodka and Spain’s stunning Hacienda de Arinzano.

The inspired vision of American winemaker Paul Hobbs, Viña Cobos is crafting world-class
wines with minimal intervention from Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo. The wines of Vina Cobos
express the essence of place, with finessed complexity and luxurious style.
Subtle and suave, Vina Cobos Bramare layers blackberry with fresh violets, and mint. Gorgeous
Vina Cobos ‘Cobos’ Marchiori Estate Malbec is lengthy and well-integrated, with red berry,
toasted spice, and a savory, meaty, balsamic note.

The son of celebrated Argentine winemaker Raul de la Mota, Roberto de la Mota, has made the
dream of Mendel vineyard owner, Anabelle Sielecki, reality by transforming her family’s historic
vineyard, first planted in 1928, into one of Mendoza’s finest wineries. Mendel Wines is named
after Mendel Sielecki, Sielecki’s father, a Jewish refugee from Poland who arrived in Argentina
in 1926 and quickly became a leading pharmaceuticals businessman.

De la Mota’s pedigree, growing up in a winemaking home, working for his father at Bodega Weinert, traveling extensively internationally for research and education, taking key roles with Chandon, Terrazas de los
Andes, and Cheval des Andes, and perhaps most importantly, being Argentine, made him the
only selection for Sielecki when she began the project. Mendel Wines shine with authenticity. Personality-filled without being flashy, highlighting delicate fruit, and an overall feeling of grace.

American wine lover, Michael Evans and Argentine attorney, Pablo Gimenez Riili came together
in southern Uco Valley in 2005, creating Vines of Mendoza, a 250-acre-vineyard designed to craft premium wines for themselves and give wine enthusiasts around the world an opportunity to own a part of a vineyard and make their wine.

Since then, they have grown to own a 1500-acre-vineyard, crafting nearly 300 small-batch,
custom vintages for their private owners with the help of consulting winemaker, Santiago
Achaval. Additionally, the Vines crafts their estate wine, Recuerdo.

What some may consider a crazy idea, the wine lover in us all dreams of, making a wine that
tells your story, selecting varieties, choosing high elevation or valley floor fruit, grapes from
warm or cool climates, using concrete or oak, screw cap or cork, etc.

The Vines works with their owners step-by-step during the winemaking process, taking care of
each of these factors. Though novice winemakers make up the majority of owners, including
many from Texans, the Vines concept has attracted some heavy hitters in the wine world,
including Napa’s Revana Wines, creating Corazon del Sol in the property’s commercial winemaker village. Bonus, if you visit The Vines to see if it’s the home of your winemaking adventure you can stay at their luxurious Resort and Spa, and dine at acclaimed Argentine Chef Frances Mallmann’s Siete Fuegos.