Venturing outside of Italy today I've always enjoyed the wines of Argentina and today's particular focus I was intrigued by when presented with some samples as the owner and winemaker of these wines is a very successful woman in the wine industry, which we all know is a male dominated industry. Her name is Susana Balbo and she is owner of the Susana Balbo Winery, which was established in 2002 in the town of Agrelo in the Lujan de Cuyo province of Mendoza at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Susana's son and daughter later joined her at the winery in 2011-2012.
Susana is the first female enologist in Argentina whom graduated from the Don Bosco University in Mendoza, Argentina. She began her wine career working in the wine area of Salta where her workings with the torrontes grape are what grasped the attention of others with her 1st vintage in 1983. Torrontes is an aromatic grape that does particularly well in the higher elevations of Salta and is typically used as a blending grape and Susana was working wonders with it as a single varietal.Susana is well respected and highly praised wine figure in the Argentinian wine industry. She is known for her innovative spirit working with a variety of barrel sizes during fermentation as well as egg shaped concrete tanks for her premium wines. She also works with wild yeasts for fermentation. Her motto best states it all, “where there's a will, there's a wine”.
She has received a list of awards including being named Woman of the Year in 2015 by the Drinks Business. Luis Gutierrez of the Wine Advocate named her barrel-fermented Torrontés as one of the “10 Argentine Wines to Drink Before You Die”. She has also been elected three times as President of the Wines of Argentina association.
I sampled 5 of the value wines that Susana Balbo creates called Crios that are very fruit driven wines. The Crios line of wines was named by Wine & Spirits 3 times as the value brand of the year. You can't beat the price. Have you tried them yet?
- 2016 Crios Torrontes Argentina - aromatics of peaches and green apples. Crisp and delicate on the palate with nice acidity and medium body. (SRP $15)
- 2017 Crios Rose' of Malbec Uco Valley Mendoza Argentina Deep pink in color. A dry wine with good body full of ripe raspberries and strawberries and a hint of spice. Make sure to drink in its youth. (SRP $15)
- 2015 Crios Red Blend Mendoza Argentina - Comprised of 40% cabernet sauvignon, 30% malbec, 20% cabernet franc and 10% merlot. It's aged 8 months in French oak. Juicy, dark and red fruits with some complexities. A little earthiness and a great price point. (SRP $15).
- 2015 Crios Cabernet Sauvignon Lujan de Cuyo Mendoza Argentina - Dominated by cabernet sauvignonn with an addition of 5% cabernet franc. Herbal notes on the palate balanced with fresh fruit and spice creating a wine with elegance. (SRP $15)
- 2015 Crios Malbec Uco Valley Mendoza Argentina - Ruby with purple tinges. Toasty and blackberries on the nose. On the palate there are fresh and juicy berries combined with bright acid and firm tannins ending with a nice finish. (SRP $15)
*Wines were received as samples, but opinions are my own. Pictures copyright of Susana Balbo Winery.