I was offered sample bottles from Susana Balbo Wines in Argentina and while perusing the list a couple caught my eye. One thing I don’t want to see happen to the country as far as its wines is for it to be pegged as full of Malbec, more Malbec, and nothing but Malbec.
Don’t get me wrong. Malbec from Argentina is some of the best bang-for-the-buck red wine out there. But just as Australia cannot be defined by Shiraz alone, this South American country can spread its wine wings and fly.
So let’s look at a couple slightly heavy (not a fan of weighty packaging) but lovely bottles.
Susana Balbo Wines: Beyond Malbec Category
2017 Susana Balbo Signature Brioso White Blend Valle de Uco ($24)
Wow, this is one of the most impressive white wines I’ve had from Argentina. The Brioso is a blend of 45% Semillón, 30% Torrontés, and 25% Sauvignon Blanc. Reminds me a lot of a white Bordeaux, but that floral Torrontés moves it into a more pleasantly perfumed category. Has a definite pear-ness on the finish. A perfect medium-bodied wine.
And, yes, Brioso has some oak to it. (Praise.) Four months total time in wood. Of the barrels, 60% are new and 40% are seeing their second use. The former gives you some pleasant oak notes, the latter a more mellow, textural impact.
2018 Susana Balbo Signature Rosé Valle de Uco ($20)
Ok, I sorta lied-ish with the title of my post. This rosé is a blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Pinot Noir. A most unusual mix! Though I found the Pinot Noir to really come through, surprisingly not dominated by Malbec. I’d probably call this a PN rosé if someone made me guess the grape(s) blind. It also shows that Malbec doesn’t have to be an inky-coating blob monster red. It can play a large, yet elegant, role in a rosé.
So the next time you are perusing a wine list or at a retail shop and the Argentina section is all Malbec, make these two points:
- Yay for promoting wines from Argentina!
- BOO for only having Malbec! (A respectful, lowercase “boo.”)