Earlier this year we had the privilege of meeting Steven Spurrier, the noted wine journalist for Decanter Magazine in London. Steven is perhaps most famous for the blind wine tasting he staged in Paris in 1976, known today as Judgment of Paris (and currently under production as a feature film), where both the white and red wines from California upset those of their French rivals. On the first evening Steven and his wife (they were on their 40th wedding anniversary trip, after all) visited our tasting room in Mendoza to enjoy some Torrontes on the patio, he invited, or perhaps more appropriately, challenged us to host a tasting for him of the 10 most provocative wines being made in Argentina today and wines that, in our opinion, best showcased the future of Argentine wines. Of course, being the wine enthusiasts that we are, we couldn't resist the challenge. Steven joined us a couple evenings later to taste the 10 wines we had selected and had this to say about his first-ever visit to Argentina and The Vines of Mendoza in Decanter's July 2008 issue...The consumer in Argentina is learning at the same time as the wineries are'; and 'When we really discover the vineyards, we will make great wine'.
This last comment was echoed by Matt Hobbs who, with partners Michael Evans, Dave Garrett and Pablo Gimenez, owns The Vines of Mendoza, an impressive wine bar around the corner from the Grand Hyatt. He put on a tasting of 10 wines for me that, for him, represented the country's most exciting new styles. Catena Angelica Zapata Chardonnay 2003 from the Tupungato region at 1,200m near the Andes foothills was the best white of my trip, and the Achaval Ferrer Finca Bella Vista Malbec 2004 was equal to the five-star wines of the major tasting. Hobbs' list offers 97 wines by the 170ml glass and if this wasn't enough to guarantee return visits, the partners have created Private Vineyard Estates, a 200ha property in the Uco Valley overseen by Santiago Achaval, which they are selling in plots to investors wanting their own wine made for them. There's huge demand for this project, especially from Californians who have seen the success of a similar, but far more expensive, venture at Bill Harlan's Napa Valley Reserve. For investors wanting to stay in the so-far hotelless Uco Valley, the partners will soon open a hotel and spa.
We are proud (although not surprised!) to see how much Mr. Spurrier liked the Achaval Ferrer Finca Bella Vista. Not only is this one of our favorite wines, but Santiago Achaval is one of our favorite winemakers. He is a close friend of The Vines and the consulting winemaker for our Private Vineyard Estates project. In 2010 we will producing our own wine, and that of our vineyard owners, with his help.See complete article here http://www.decanter.com/archive/article.php?id=257790Private Vineyard Estates - Uco Valley - Mendoza - Argentina