The Vines of Mendoza

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Amanda Barnes is a British journalist who makes her own bread and butter by drinking wine around the country. Actually, she spends her bread and butter on wine.

Marcelo Pelleriti - Mendoza’s musical winemaker


If you were in the Uco Valley last month, there was the sound of more than just birdsong in Vista Flores as Bodega Monteviejo held the 8th edition of Monteviejo Wine Rock - the biggest wine and rock music festival in South America. With an impressive line up of some of Argentina’s most famous rock bands, along with a art and culture exhibition , this is always one of the hottest tickets in Mendoza’s events calendar.

However the wine and rock connection at Monteviejo goes beyond one day in April. Head Winemaker Marcelo Pelleriti is a rock fanatic, who - when he isn’t making wine - spends hours every  day on his guitar playing and listening to music ranging from rock to classical guitar. He plays with the aptly-named band, The Cellars; has a wine and rock radio show ‘In Vino Veritas’ with other buffs in the industry; and jokingly says he prays to Jimi Hendrix during the harvest.

And as it turns out, there are many musicians in Argentina who feel the same way about wine. When Marcelo invited some of the musicians visiting Bodega Monteviejo to make their own blend in the winery, he noticed that their musical style had an impact on the wine: “It was incredible when you tasted their blends how you could see the composition of the wine was like their style of music!”

The first wine he made with an Argentine musician to reach commercial release was Abremundos, with guitarist and songwriter Pedro Aznar. Their series of red blends have a musical theme with names such as ‘low octave’ and ‘page one’ and predominantly have Cabernet Franc and Malbec in the blend coming from their estate in the Winemakers Village at The Vines of Mendoza.

It didn’t take long for other musicians from Argentina to want to make their own wines with Marcelo too, and today the winemaker collaborates with other musicians Felipe Staiti, Juanchi Baleiron, Coti, Rano Sarbach and Jaime Torres to make individual labels and wines to suit their different styles and tastes. Each of the wines was served at Monteviejo Wine Rock for the ultimate music and wine pairing.

So how does Marcelo view the connection of music and wine himself? “I like music and I like to play the guitar. To make wine we need other motivations… Sometimes we need to fly a bit more and we need good music to create it.”

Rocking wines to try:

Abremundos, Octava Superior: This Cabernet Franc dominated blend has hedonistic aromas of violet matched with dark fruit notes and a mineral base line. Made with Pedro Aznar.

Felipe Staiti Wines, Vertigo: A spicy blend of Malbec and Syrah from the Uco Valley made with the guitarist best known for his Argentine rock band Enanitos Verdes.

Ojo de Agua, Puro Corte d’Oro: Marcelo consults for Swiss musician, Dieter Meier, to make these organic wines. This rich blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc comes from Alto Agrelo.

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