Taking Argentina to New Heights with Susana Balbo and her Torrontés Wines21-06-2023
In the scenic vineyards of Argentina, one name stands out among winemakers - Susana Balbo. With her solid passion and dedication, Balbo has played a key role in revolutionizing the country's wine industry. Her focus and pursuit of excellence, particularly in making Torrontés wine, has made her one of the leading producers of this unique grape variety.
Susana Balbo's journey into winemaking began decades ago, when she graduated as the first female enologist in Argentina. Armed with knowledge and an adventurous spirit, she embarked on a mission to put Argentine wines on the global map. Balbo recognized the immense potential of the Torrontés grape, a native variety known for its aromatic and floral qualities.
Today we were invited to meet this intriguing woman by Today’s Specials on behalf of Gastrovino. We went for a lunch at Brasserie Bruis in Haarlem to taste her exceptional wines. During this wine tasting it became clear that the Torrontes grape has many different ‘faces’. We tasted a total of 9 different varieties of her Torrontes, an Orange wine and of course… a Malbec.
The Signature Barrel Fermented Torrontés wines (line up of wines from 2016-2022) created by Susana Balbo have aromas of white flowers, citrus, some orange peel and tropical fruits. On the palate, they display a lovely freshness, crisp acidity, and a harmonious balance of flavors. The crispiness increases in the older varieties, these have a “french” dryness. The younger ones tend to have a bit more tropical fruits, lychees and citrus. All in all quite an experience, who would have thought that Torrontes would mature so well. According to Susana the wine has a 10 year aging potential.
The last wine was the ‘Susana Balbo Nosotros Malbec, Single Vineyard Nomade 2019’, a truly remarkable wine, displaying Susana’s winemaker's skill and dedication. With its deep ruby color and dense texture, this wine immediately captivates the senses. On the nose aromas of ripe blackberries, plums, and dark cherries, complemented by hints of baking spices and a touch of smokiness.
On the palate, the wine reveals its true character. It has a rich and velvety mouthfeel. There is a perfect balance between the fruit, the well-integrated tannins, and the vibrant acidity, creating a harmonious symphony of flavors. The wine has a long finish, leaving an impression of dark fruit and a subtle hint of vanilla. Definitely worth trying. We were served a delicious piece of Dutch Lamb accompanied by some ratatouille.
Susana Balbo's winemaking philosophy revolves around combining tradition with innovation. She pays homage to Argentina's winemaking heritage while embracing modern techniques to enhance the quality and expression of the wines. This approach became perfectly clear in the presented wines. There is a great balance between the grape's inherent aromas and vibrant acidity, resulting in wines that are both expressive and elegant.
Through meticulous vineyard management and selective harvesting, Balbo ensures that only the finest grapes are used in her winemaking process. She understands the importance of terroir, carefully selecting vineyard sites with optimal conditions for Torrontés cultivation. The combination of high altitude, cool nights, and lots of sunshine lends complexity and balance to the final product.
Susana Balbo's commitment to sustainability is also evident in her winemaking practices. She has adopted eco-friendly techniques, striving to minimize environmental impact while producing exceptional wines. This dedication to sustainable practices further enhances the allure of her Torrontés, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers.