Check out our 3 Membership levels to receive a winebox each 90 days! Get Started
Over the last three years, we have been developing this project which aims to promote Argentine Wines to the USA and the World.
A bit of background. I’m a serial Entrepreneur and still work in the Tech space. My company had an opportunity to develop sales in Latin America, and we struck up a partnership with a local company in Buenos Aires. Being half Italian, I somehow felt a kinship with my new partners and really everyone I met in Argentina. It’s just a great country.
While my work was in IT Services and Internet Consulting my hobby was wine.
As anyone who is curious in learning, I got infatuated with varietals. I went through phases of one to two years discovering all the wines for each varietal. I started with white wines including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Fume Blanc, and then when I had Cabernet at the right serving temperature, I began focusing on Reds including Merlot, Chianti, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, Grenache, etc. I would travel to wine countries, and fortunately, I was doing well in my IT business which allowed me to taste a lot of premium wines.
When I arrived in Buenos Aires in 2005, my partners introduced me to Malbec. It was the perfect wine for me.
When I arrived in Buenos Aires in 2005, my partners introduced me to Malbec. It was the perfect wine for me. Each region and elevation delivered a variety of beautiful aromas, big red and dark fruit tastes and for some wines a silky finish. What is not to love about Malbec right?
Each time I returned to my home in Atlanta, I would bring as many bottles with me in my luggage as I could.
As with my last varietal favorites I wanted to learn about and discover more Malbec, but, the wines I was tasting in Argentina just weren’t available in the USA.
Then in 2007, I was lucky to meet the love of my life Silvana in Buenos Aires. We developed a long- distance relationship, and I traveled to Buenos Aires one week out of every month for the next three years. It was awesome having an apartment in Palermo Soho.
Silvana and I started frequenting JA! Wine Shop and I developed a great friendship with the crew there and especially Joaquin Alberdi.
My business partner Ricardo and I would try different Malbecs, and I would embarrass him with my uncanny ability to notice a corked wine. Silvana and I started frequenting JA! Wine Shop and I developed a great friendship with the crew there and especially Joaquin Alberdi. We made friends and went on many trips to the Argentine wine country. I frequented Francis Mallmann restaurants and met many winemakers, Vineyard owners, and Sommeliers. Silvana and I married in 2010 and spent our honeymoon at Cavas Wine Lodge in Lujan de Cuyo. A bit of heaven on earth.
My suitcases were starting to wear out, and I was pushing my limit of bottles I was bringing back. I asked myself, why is there a lack of supply of great Malbecs in the USA?
The Entrepreneurial light bulb went off! I started researching the wine market. I found out that 78% of Americans base their buying decisions on reviews. Argentina produces about 12,000 labels per year. WS, WE, and WA rate less than 400 Argentine wines annually and it’s usually wines from the mass producers, which makes sense because they have larger marketing budgets. That’s why I wasn’t finding my favorite small production and single-vineyard Malbecs online or in USA stores and when Malbecs finally started popping up in restaurants they weren’t the best Malbecs for the money.
This is when I first thought to do wine reviews, but, I wasn’t confident in my abilities yet to lead this endeavor. Silvana and I had a baby girl in 2011, and she was born in Buenos Aires. So, I felt compelled to be a part of the Argentine culture.
To know more about wine, I found a winemaker in Atlanta to mentor me. He agreed to teach me how to make wine, and he understood the vinification of winemaking. My first batch was a success. I bought premium boxes of Malbec Juice and fermented it in large buckets. Next was filtering in in large glass carboys, and then I bought a 15L recast French oak barrel. 6 months later and lots of barrel tastings we had a bottling party. It had the classic floral aroma and was very juicy. Over the next five years, friends and I made additional batches of reds but not as tasty as the first. The lesson was the quality, of grapes determines the quality of the wine.
The next step was to drink thousands of Argentine Malbecs and other varietals. I would tell you how many Argentine wines I’ve had, but I can’t count that high, and you wouldn’t believe me.
Along the way, Ricardo, Silvana and I were at El Mirasol in Recoleta, and they had one of our favorites on the list – Terrazas Afincado 2004 Malbec. That night I sent back three bottles that were corked. The staff was frustrated with me, my wife and friends were trying to hide behind their napkins, but I was really in the mood for that wine. The Sommelier agreed with my diagnosis and wanted to get me to choose another selection. I was determined and the cork from the fourth bottle popped when pulled which was an excellent sign. The wine was perfect! A few years later when Afincado 2004 was near impossible to find we happened to stay at Terrazas in Lejuan de Cuyo. I was having a fantastic discussion with the Sommelier there and told her about my love of the 2004 and that roughly half of the corks from that year were bad. What I believe was a turning point for me was that she acknowledged that yes indeed they were supplied with an order of bad corks that year. She was so impressed that I was from the USA and knew so much about their wines that she found a bottle of Afincado 2004 in their library and gave it to me. My confidence was sky high and the 2004 cork popped when opened and the bottle was perfect!
While there are many more stories of positive interactions with people in the wine industry in Argentina, I will save those for when we are sharing a bottle together!
My friends in Atlanta were benefiting from my travels to Argentina with lots of wine tastings upon my return. My last step was to do some double-blind tastings to see if Argentine Malbec was really world class.
So, I bought a highly rated Brunello di Montalcino, Chateauneuf de Pape and a luscious wine from California. All were rated above 94 by the Wine Spectator. The fourth wine was an unrated Malbec from Argentina. In both tastings, 12 out of 12 people picked the Malbec as the best wine.
The question I asked was, “If this Malbec was on the wine list with the other wines, would you have selected it?” Of course, the answer was no unless they had the wine before or it had a rating.
I believe it is a significant project for the country of Argentina and for promoting Argentine Wines to the USA and the World.
Over the last three years, we have been developing VinoApp. I believe it is a significant project for the country of Argentina and for promoting Argentine Wines to the USA and the World. The App is free for both Android and iOS. When comparing our App to those by professionals and consumer rated Apps, I believe the Sommelier has been left out of the recommendations. That’s why our reviewers are Sommeliers in Argentina and the USA. After all, they should be recommending your wines!
Enjoy the App and please follow our progress!