While I haven’t been privy to the entire Luis Gutiérrez – AKA Robert Parker’s flying wine critic to Argentina – array of points, one thing I do know: a white Argentine blend picked up 92 points.
My mate Agustina de Alba – executive sommelier at one of Buenos Aires’ top restaurants – and enologist Juampi Michelini – he of the legendary Mendoza winemaking family – steered clear of MALBEC for their first collaboration. And the risk paid off.
In a piece I wrote for Departures in July, she told me: “The truth is, I never intended to make my own wine! It was a natural progression, which worked out with winemaker Juampi. We got talking about our ideal wine and we both said we’d like a white blend, as strong as a red, and that’s versatile yet complex. That’s when we said: ‘We have to make a wine together.'”
Their Blanc de Alba 2014 is an Gualtallary, Uco Valley creation, made from Sauvignon Blanc, which forms the backbone; Semillon, which brings structure; and Riesling for elegance. Fermented and aged in concrete eggs, Agustina says its “delicate nose also shows minerality and freshness in the mouth.”
Though just 2,400 bottles were made, Gutiérrez sampled it on his recent Argentina visit, and gave it a notable 92 points. With a handful of whites picking up 90+ Parker (Gutierréz) points including Gerardo Michelini’s JiJiJi Chenin Blanc 2015 and Matías Michelini’s Agua de Roca 2014 made from Gualtallary Sauvignon Blanc, the buzz words in Argentina right now are Uco Valley and Michelini.