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Susana Balbo Brioso 2011

Bordeaux Red Blends from Argentina
    14.5% ABV
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    14.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Deep, brooding and intense garnet color with deep aromas of cedar and cocoa powder framed by light French oak. Big, lush and concentrated with a core of red and black currant fruit. It has a range of layered flavors including tobacco, black tea, and classic Cabernet pepper with a good grip on the finish. Big and refined all at the same time.

    It will drink well now with a nice meal, but should improve over the next 5 years. Pairs well with beef, pork, lamb, squab, quail and duck.

    Blend: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 20% Malbec, 5% Merlot

    Critical Acclaim

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    Susana Balbo

    Susana Balbo

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    Susana Balbo, Argentina
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    Susana became the first female enologist in Argentina after graduating with honors from Don Bosco University in Mendoza in 1981. Due to the male-dominated industry in Mendoza, her first job took her north to Salta where she changed Argentine wine history with her first vintage of premium Torrontés. Susana continually seeks innovative ways to enhance her winemaking, from experimenting with barrel volumes (160L through 6,500L) to testing wild vs cultured yeasts. For premium wine production, Susana chooses concrete eggs for fermenting vessels. The egg's porous concrete breathes like oak yet allows the wine to develop as if it were made in stainless steel. The resulting wine has a pure expression of fruit with a richer, more complex mouthfeel. In 2011 and 2012, Susana's son Jose and daughter Ana joined the winery to help build SBW to where it is today. Jose helps Susana as the winery's head of R&D alongside his role as Exportation Manager. Ana is SBW's Marketing Manager as well as General Manager of the winery restaurant Osadía de Crear. Susana continuously seeks uncharted territory in the wine world to see what limits can be tested. Most recently, Susana crafted Argentina's first Barrel Fermented Torrontes. It's a wine that is not only the first of its kind, but harvested from a previously unproven terroir for Torrontés in the Uco Valley. The Wine Advocate's Luis Gutierrez calls it one of the "10 Argentine Wines to Drink Before You Die".

    Argentina

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    With vineyards tretching along the eastern side of the Andes Mountains from Patagonia in the south to Salta in the north, Argentina is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic wine producing countries—and most important in South America.

    Since the late 20th century vineyard investments, improved winery technology and a commitment to innovation have all contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains is used heavily to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.

    Argentina’s famous Mendoza region, responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, with Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley most noteworthy. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white.

    The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.

    Bordeaux Blends

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    One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

    In the Glass

    Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

    Perfect Pairings

    Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

    Sommelier Secret

    While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

    CGM30004_2011 Item# 141444