Producer Profile: Once upon a time Santiago Salgado was not a winemaker, not a ‘craftsman’ as he refers to himself. Even though this wasn’t forever ago – some 15 years – you’d have no idea he was an urbanite from Buenos Aires with a degree in communications and a radio station. Around 2004 he and his wife relocated their family to San Rafael, drawn by the allure of the Mendoza wine scene and the nice balance they were able to strike settling down here where it is rural though still with a thriving arts scene so that the couple could stay in touch with their mixed-media-theatre-arts background. In any case, Santiago wanted to connect with the land. He sounds like a lot of winemakers who venture into the vineyard with a dose of predestination, hot on the trail of seeking. Slowly, he learned all about organic and biodynamic agricultural practices through trial, error, and the daily exchange of ideas with neighbors and likeminded farmers. Eventually, the homespun wines mixed experiment with adventure and increasing expertise. Onesuch experiment is this literally one-of-a-kind cuvée in the share. Crafted from the grape ‘Argentina’ which is a native-to-Argentina Muscat, “La Abuela No es Orgullosa” is the first foray into making wine from this seedless grape, as it has historically only ever been used as a table grape or dried into raisins. Well, here we are: a softly textured aromatic “Argentina” from Argentina crafted by the hands of a man who never would have dreamed he’d end up being the craftsman-winemaker he is today.
Vinification: The first wine to be made from 100% Argentina, a seedless, muscat hybrid varietal native to Argentina, typically eaten as a table grape or dried as raisins. The grapes are sourced from a local agricultural university, who allows Santiago to pick the fruit after the growing season ends and the observations are collected. The grapes are hand-picked, followed by a light press and maceration on the skins for a couple of days. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, with no SO2. Only 500 bottles were made!
Tasting: A lovely hue of orange and coral in the glass. Deeply aromatic on the nose, like a tea of pressed lychee, violets, fennel and mixed herbs. The fruit on the palate is slightly tart, but also rich like a cantaloupe. There is a density and unctuousness to the texture, but with the acidity as well as with the tropical nose, the result is a lovely, bright, spirit-lifting juice. A little suggestion: drink in one sitting. Mouse is likely to creep up about 2 hours after opening.