Argentina takes center stage at Vail tasting |

Argentina takes center stage at Vail tasting

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL – Argentina, the wines of which are featured in a Vail tasting Sunday, stretches over one million square miles or about four times the size of France. Its wide range of landscapes offer many ideal locations for grape growing.

Argentina is the world’s fifth largest wine producer, ranking only behind France, Italy, Spain, and the U.S. Major exportation did not begin, however, until the 1990s when domestic consumption plummeted to only 35 liters per capita from 92 liters in the 1970s. During that same period, U.S. wine consumption almost doubled and many higher quality Argentine wines found their way to the US and Europe.

Attitudes toward vineyard management and winemaking have changed slowly, but emerging is a small cadre of winemakers who not only aspire to making the finest wines in Argentina, but also making wines that have the style and complexity to challenge the best in the world.

“This weekend we will offer a small sampling of these unique wines each with a story of their own to tell,” said Kristen Fannin, sommelier for the Wine Shop at Marketplace on Meadow Drive.

The first is the 2008 Crios Chardonnay, the offspring, or “crios,” of Susana Balbo. In a country dominated by male winemakers, Balbo has been making a wide variety of wine since 1981.

Balbo was the first Argentine winemaker to be hired as a consultant to make wine outside of Argentina. She has made wine in Australia, California, Chile, France, Italy, South Africa, and Spain, and she spends a month each year in a different wine region of the world studying with local winemakers and growers. Wines under her Crios label display ripe fruit flavors, excellent balance and concentration, and are meant to be enjoyed in their vibrant youth.

The second is the 2006 La Posta Bonarda. Each La Posta label illustrates a story of an individual family from the posta del vinatero, or “tavern of the grape growers,” where they drank wine and spoke soils, vines, and the quest for superior flavors in their grapes. Winemaker Luis Reginato is a vineyard consultant and winemaker with long experience at his family’s winery in Mendoza. He was chosen because of his close relationship with local, small growers and his intimate understanding of the regions’ vineyards.

The third wine is 2007 Ben Marco Cabernet. Owner and viticulturist, Pedro Marchevsky, follows a simple philosophy: grow grapes and make wines that are true to their place.

BenMarco means “son of Marcos” in Hebrew. Pedro produces his wines as homage to his father, Marcos, who taught him how to plant and tend vineyards. The grapevine illustrated on the label is modeled after the wide-trellised vines that Pedro has planted on the borders of his vineyards.

The free tasting will occur during Vail’s popular Farmers’ Market. Park for free at the Vail Transportation Center. Marketplace on Meadow Drive is located in Vail Village, at the corner of Meadow Drive and Willow Bridge Road, just west of the International Bridge. For more information, call 970-477-4370.

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