Rob Moshein - Austin Wine Guy
Elegante, Simpatico, Encantador. La Dama y los vinos. Susana Balbo
May 17, 2010
Elegant, simpatico, charming. These words describe both the lady and the wines.
Yesterday, Yr Mst Hmbl & Obdt Svt here had the rare privilege and pleasure to meet with, taste with and get to know a Great Lady - Susana Balbo, the Great Lady of Argentina Wine. Central Market is having an Argentina Festival, all things Argentine, and Susana Balbo graciously came to Austin; Seth the CM Wine Guru arranged to invite me to her tasting event. She, most graciously, agreed to spend one on one time with me.
I could go on and on about her technical skills as a winemaker. Clearly, she has them in spades. Suffice it to say, gentle reader, this Lady knows what she is doing, in the vineyard, in the winery and in the bottle. Five minutes into listening to her, this Wine Guy clearly could see she is on top of her game. So, I won't go into a technical dissuasion of her skills here, there is far more important and interesting stuff to talk about.
"Talk about". Ms Balbo had me as a life long devoted friend with the phrase "There are wines to talk about and there are wines to drink. I prefer to make wines to drink". Brava!
The essence of what I have been trying to preach as the AWG. In one phrase. Wine is to be drunk. Wine is to be enjoyed. Wine is to be shared. The empty glass should leave you happy and your inner self a better person for it. I'm so tired of the Napa Valley over manipulated over oaken over thought out over hyped over priced undrinkable swill that gives you something to talk about, but you don't want to finish the glass much less the bottle. The wines of Susana Balbo were a draught of fresh clean air straight from the slopes of the Andes.
I am now more convinced than ever that my theory of the people making the wine are as much a part of the terroir itself as the dirt and rain is indeed correct. I discussed this with her, and she eagerly jumped to agree with me. "Of COURSE the winemaker influences the wine and the wine reflects who they are!" she told me. She is ever so correct in that statement. Her wines are a reflection of her with mirror like clarity
Both are elegant and classy, but in a genuine, not forced way. Her simple dress and demeanor are reflected in wines that are also simple but complex, elegant and balanced. Balance is what Susana Balbo is all about. All four wines we tasted were the epitome of balance. Susana Balbo is enchanting, and so are the wines she makes. You enjoy the time you spend with her and you enjoy the time you spend drinking her wines. Both are easy, friendly and indeed "muy simpatico".
Am I gushing? I hope not. I am just so very impressed and excited to meet a "Wine Guy's" Winemaker. This charming Lady "Gets it". She makes good wines, and wants her wines to reflect her vision of balance, integrity, fun and seriousness all in the bottle.
Crios, of course, is her well known and internationally recognized everyday affordable drink. They're all good and all exceptional values. Buy them and enjoy them, they are all around $15 and worth every penny. Her other wines, her Signature Series for example, are all equally wonderful, well made, beautifully crafted bottles. The 2006 Signature Series Malbec I tasted achieved that wonderful, elegant contradiction where the wine is richly complex, but never heavy or dense on the palate. It just dances a Tango on the tongue, back and forth across the dance floor of your palate with its feet barely touching the ground effortlessly.
I so enjoyed meeting her and talking with her. You know when you meet someone and instantly just "like" them? Simpatico. This was one of those moments. Meet Susana Balbo, I urge you. All you need to do is open up a bottle of her wine and I'm sure not only will you get to know her well, but you will also like her as much as I do.
Austin Wine Guy