Can't travel to Argentina this month? We have your passport and are bringing some of the best wines from Argentina to you. Enjoy three premium, boutique wines and learn the stories behind the people who created them.
Wednesday, October 30
6 to 9 pm (Presentation: 6:45 pm)
RRed Gallery & Wine Bar
540 University Ave San Diego, CA 92103
Enjoy one ounce pours of the following Argentine wines*:
2008 Bodega La Azul Reserva - blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from one of smallest wineries in Mendoza
2007 Malbec de Angeles - Robert Parker 90 points
You'll also have a chance to see incredible art, perfect for spending time with friends and receiving discounted prices on glasses and bottles of these wines. This event is a collaboration between Our World, Our Community a South American wine import company based in San Diego and RRed Gallery & Wine Bar voted best date spot in Hillcrest.
Join us on Wednesday, July 31 from 6-7 pm (PST) on Twitter for #winechat
#Winechat was created by Marie Sanderson Payton, then wine lovers enjoyed the weekly event via Bill Eyer and it's now led by Protocol Wine Studio. We're fans of Protocol Wine Studio as they believe in a true wine culture: taste it, share it, live it.
If you have a Twitter account, it's easy to participate in #WineChat. Add us to your calendar for July 31 from 6-7pm (PST) and type in #winechat to follow the conversation. Join the conversation by using the hashtag so everyone can see your question or comment.
During this #winechat we'll be focused on Argentina's wine: providing information on the premier wine region Mendoza, tasting signature grape Malbec and sharing stories behind the people who create the wines.
Why Mendoza? It's where the vast majority of wines from Argentina are produced with significant differences between the subregions. Also, I (Courtney Quinn, wine importer of OWOC Wines) used to live there. We import wines from Argentina into California while sharing the story of people who produce the wine with the people who enjoy drinking the wine.
What Argentine wine will be tasted? The 2008 Malbec de Angeles Malbec. The Malbec is from a vineyard established in 1924 that preserves the terroir with little influences to the wine and named "Top 10 Malbec" by Decanter Magazine in June 2012. Both wines are 100% varietals.
How can I get the wines for this #winechat? We have a small quantity of wines for those in the trade or wine writers who can use the contact form to inquire. If you are in San Diego, we have a few spots at our tasting during #winechat at Protocol Wine Studio...please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve you spot. If you learn about #winechat too late to get the wines, I'd encourage you to still join us. I've participated in a few #winechat without the wines and still learned about wine regions, producers, etc.
We look forward to you joining the conversation on #winechat via Twitter on Wednesday, July 31 at 6pm (PST).
I lived in Mendoza during 2009 and 2010 with a return visit from April to May 2011. Earlier this month, I spent 10 days in Mendoza and the five biggest changes for wineries in Mendoza that I noticed were the following:
1. Winemaker Projects
Most of the winemakers at large- to medium-sized wineries now also have their own separate projects, not affiliated with their winery. Primarily, they are sourcing their grapes from Valle de Uco and Lujan de Cuyo. I tried several of these wines though I don’t think we will see them outside of Argentina for a few years as their total production is very small around 2,500 bottles.
Since 2002, new wineries have been established from previous grape growers who sold all of their grapes to large wineries. The new wineries have built garage size wineries on their property or rent tanks and barrels from other wineries to create their own wines. Many of these small wineries now produce some of the most exciting and highly acclaimed wines. In the next 5-10 years, we could see similar results from the winemaker projects.
2. Convection Toast vs. Medium Toast
I had a friend visiting from the United States and we went to three of the area’s most prominent wineries. I’ve been in hundreds of barrel rooms in Mendoza and it was at the first winery I noticed many of the barrels said CT meaning convection toast. Yes, there were still oak barrels with MT for medium toast, plus a mix of French and American oak.
Convection toast barrels are toasted in an airtight convection oven as the ventilation system expels superheated purified air into a fusion chamber and then mixed with purified air at room temperature. The circulation of hot air produces a softer, slower toasting that allows the winemaker to customize the
barrel’s intensity and concentration of aromas in the wine.
Medium toast barrels impart spicy, woodsy and vanilla tones to the wine. Medium plus toast imparts baking spices, roasted and toasted elements.
Winemakers I met with shared they preferred the convection toast barrels as there were more consistent qualities throughout all of the wine in the barrel compared to medium toast barrels in which sections of the barrel had stronger elements than other sections.
3. New Varietals
Many wineries produce wine from Malbec and Torrontes the signature grapes of Argentina. The new trends in varietals in Mendoza differ by region.
There are huge variations between these wines, based on the winery and vintages. I would recommend trying these varietals from these regions by the glass or privately (not at a special dinner) as you may find some you’d like to use them in a sangria mix.
4. Tourists & Pesos
My travels were during off-season for tourists, though many in the tourism industry in Mendoza shared the numbers were low this past summer season. Hotel, airline and restaurant prices have increased significantly in the last few years due to an inflation rate of 10-25% depending on the source.
While I was there the official exchange rate for pesos to dollars was 5.14 to 1. On the black market (known as blue) the rate was ranged from 8.10 (up to 8.44 in some areas) to 1. You can read more about in The Wall Street Journal.
5. Use Your Laptop
If you are planning to visit or conduct research on wineries in Argentina make sure to bring your laptop. Unfortunately, many winery websites still use Flash and not user friendly for the iPad. Plus, brush up on your Spanish as many of the winery websites offer English versions of their website, though with very little information compared to the Spanish sections.
Our World, Our Community (OWOC) imports excellent wines from Argentina to be experienced in community. One goal of OWOC is to provide not just a bottle of wine, but an experience…an opportunity to visit another part of the world and experience that community and connect with the people in it.
So why Argentina? Both the white and red wines are amazing, especially for the price point. The people making the wine are passionate with incredible stories to share. After I spent months living there, I feel connected to the community, often referring to Mendoza as my second home.
As the company grows, the plan is to bring in wines from other countries. For now, thank you for joining the people who worked to make these wines and those fortunate enough to share their stories.
Owner of OWOC