This week we are pleased to welcome Jose Lovaglio, winemaker for Bodini and Crios de Susana Balbo Wineries, both of Mendoza, Argentina. Jose is the son of distinguished female Argentine winemaker Susana Balbo of Susana Balbo Winery.
“Hailing from an established winemaking family from Mendoza, José Lovaglio is a young, third generation winemaker. In 2008 he graduated from the leading university in the United States for winemaking, the University of California at Davis (UC Davis). After college, he continued his wine education through an extension course at Beijing Normal University. While in China, José worked for ASC Fine Wines, China’s largest importer and distributor of fine wines, and also as a staff trainer and Sommelier for the Westin Hotel. Before joining the Bodini team, José was a winemaker at Zemlia, a small, family-run winery in the Maipu region of Mendoza.
As part of the Bodini team, José is committed to the company’s goal of increased sustainability throughout the winemaking process. The Bodini vineyards try to use the minimum amount of chemicals possible, as well as try to conserve precious natural resources. Bodini is also committed to social responsibility, toward both its workers and the surrounding community. In addition, Bodini donates a portion of all its wine sales to the Dominio del Plata Scholarship Foundation, which works to provide financial scholarships to winery worker families in the greater Mendoza area.
Bodini stands for “Built On Dreams of Individuals Not Institutions”. This is a wine that is built upon the dreams of all those involved in crafting these amazing wines: the dreams of the vineyard and winery teams to do their part to preserve the earth and environment through sustainable viticulture and winemaking practices, the dreams of the winery to promote the well-being of its workers, their families, the community and future generations, and the dreams of a young, up-and-coming winemaker, Jose Lovaglio.
Bodini is committed to only sourcing fruit from sustainably-farmed, high elevation vineyards, and using the minimum amount of non-organic products necessary. Bodini follows strict environmental practices, such as wastewater recycling and winemaking process tracking, and also follows a fair trade philosophy with grape growers and other suppliers. On a more micro level, they’ve “adopted” a local children’s soccer club with sister winery Dominio del Plata, which covers the costs of their equipment, uniforms, training and travel expenses. They also regularly donate milk to the children at the local soup kitchens.”
Click here for additional details about Bodini.
Bodini Chardonnay 2011– Mendoza, Argentina. From Vineyards located in Los Árboles (Tunuyán) and Alto Agrelo (Lujan de Cuyo). 100% Chardonnay from vines that average 22 years planted at an average elevation of 3346 feet. 30% of the wine aged for three months in 1-year old French oak, the remaining 70% aged in stainless steel. “Crisp tropical aromas of banana skin combine with light, dry oak notes to provide an alluring complexity. Full-bodied in the mouth but has vibrant acidity that never gets heavy. Hints of lemon and green apple lead to a dry, crisp finish. There is just the lightest kiss of oak flavor that frames the fresh fruit flavors. It is a bright, crisp and captivating young wine to enjoy by itself or paired with chicken, pork and seafood.” 89 Points Wine Advocate– “Bodini’s 2011 Chardonnay saw 70% of the wine aged in stainless steel and 30% aged for 3 months in second use French oak. Aromas of pear, apple, melon, and mineral lead to a savory, spicy, intensely flavored wine with excellent depth and concentration for its humble price. This excellent value will provide plenty of pleasure over the next 2-3 years.” 4000 cases produced. Tasting $9.99
Bodini Malbec 2011– Mendoza, Argentina. From Vineyards located in Agrelo, Ugarteche (Luján de Cuyo), and La Consulta (San Carlos). A blend of 95% Malbec and 5% Bonarda from vines that average 23 years that are planted at an average elevation of 3280 feet. The wine aged for four months in a combination of 50% French oak and 50% American oak. “Aromas of dark, ripe bing cherries and toasty caramel. Full and fleshy in the mouth with loads of ripe and spicy red and black fruits. Firm tannins and great structure for such a drinkable wine with a long, persistent finish that continues to dance on your tongue long after the first sip. Wow! This is one that you buy by the case to take home to amaze your friends and family. You can drink it tonight and pair with traditional red-friendly foods like hamburgers, steak, ribs and pizza, and grilled or roasted chicken. Great all by itself too!” 88 Points Wine Advocate– “The 2011 Malbec contains 5% Bonarda in its blend and was aged for 4 months in French and American oak. Cedar, mocha, floral notes, spice box, and black cherry aromas set the stage for a savory, tasty, easygoing, forward wine that delivers excellent value. Drink it over the next 3-4 years.” 18000 cases produced. Tasting $9.99
“In a country dominated by male winemakers, Susana Balbo stands out not only for her gender, but for her incredible skill and experience. She has been making wine since she earned her enology degree in 1981, and she has probably produced a wider variety of wines than any other winemaker in Argentina. Susana was the first Argentine winemaker to be hired as a consultant to make wine outside of Argentina. She has made wine in Australia, California, Chile, France, Italy, South Africa, and Spain, and she spends a month each year in a different wine region of the world studying with local winemakers and growers.
After 25+ years of winemaking, Susana Balbo has a strong sense of what she wants from her wines. From every harvest, she creates the grandest possible wines under her Susana Balbo label. To achieve this, she makes a rigorous selection of the finest barrels prior to making her final blends, dividing them into the parents (reserve level wines) and offspring or “crios”. Wines under her Crios label display ripe fruit flavors, excellent balance and concentration, and are meant to be enjoyed in their vibrant youth. They are also an incredibly good value. The label features a series of three connected and overlapping hands, an image that represents Susana and her children, José and Ana. In 2011, Susana passed the winemaking reins for Crios to her own son, José Lovaglio, a graduate of UC Davis. José continues to translate his mother’s vision while bringing his own unique, modern style to the wines.”
Click here for additional details about Crios.
Crios Torrontes 2011– Argentina. From Vineyards located in LaRioja, Tucumán, and Mendoza. 100% Torrontes from vines that average 32 years and are planted at an average elevation of 5576 feet. The wine fermented and aged in stainless steel. “Enticing aromas that are strikingly similar to Viognier, with hints of peach pit, white pear, flowers, and orange citrus fruit. On the palate, it has beautiful structure and acidity similar to Sauvignon Blanc along with enticing fruit flavors that keep you coming back for another sip and plenty of body for a wine that shows such delicate aromas and flavors. Fruity, floral and yet still quite dry, this wine has to be tasted to be believed. Best enjoyed in its youth either by itself, or as a wonderful partner with smoked meats, mild to medium-strong cheeses, and seafood (especially crab!).” 90 Points Wine Advocate– “The 2011 Torrontes offers up enticing aromas of peach, melon, floral, and tropical fruit. Medium-bodied, dry, savory, and nicely proportioned, this lengthy effort will deliver plenty of enjoyment over the next 1-2 years.” 35000 cases produced. Tasting $13.99
Crios Rose of Malbec 2011– Mendoza, Argentina. From Vineyards located in Agrelo and Ugarteche (Luján de Cuyo) and La Consulta (San Carlos). 100% Malbec from vines that average 33 years and are planted at an average elevation of 3280 feet. The wine was made in a saignee method; it fermented and aged in stainless steel. “A beautiful, deep, vibrant rosé color. Has a surprising amount of body for a rosé wine, and beautiful aromas of fresh, ripe wild strawberries. On the palate, the flavors of strawberries and young cherries come rushing in, accompanied by some spice notes and a clean, dry finish. This is the perfect chicken wine and a charming companion to mildly spicy Asian cuisine. Keep one in the fridge at all times and you’ll always have a delicious wine to enjoy with light snacks and cheeses. Best consumed in its youth.” 87 Points Wine Advocate– “The 2011 Rose of Malbec (100%) was fermented and aged in stainless steel. Aromas of strawberry, cherry blossom, and cranberry lead to a crisp, dry, savory wine that should prove versatile at the dining table over the next 12-18 months.” Tasting $11.99
Crios Malbec 2010– Mendoza, Argentina. From Vineyards located in Agrelo and Anchoris (Luján de Cuyo), Altamira (San Carlos), and Los Árboles (Tunuyán). A blend of 95% Malbec and 5% Bonarda from vines that average 15 years and are planted at an average elevation of 3700 feet. The wine aged for nine months in new barrels, 50% French oak and 50% American oak. “The wine has a beautiful reddish/purple color as most good Malbecs do. The aromas are a mix of freshly crushed black cherries and toasty/smoky oak—just enough to frame the exuberant fruit. On the palate, the flavors of cherries and spice are obvious, and the jammy fruit quality just keeps coming on strong, with hints of spice and sandalwood lurking in the background. This is a wine that you’ll want to buy by the case because it can be consumed at almost any occasion, whether at a fancy dinner party, or just curled up on the couch in front of a movie. Fun and delicious—what more can you ask for?” 87 Points Wine Advocate– “The 2010 Malbec contains 5% Bonarda in its blend. Notes of balsam wood, smoke, black cherry, and spice box lead to a similarly styled wine that comes off as just a bit lean. Again, the flavors are pleasant, but it should be drunk over the next several years while it retains its fruit.” 28000 cases produced. Tasting $13.99
Crios Cabernet Sauvignon 2011– Mendoza, Argentina. From Vineyards located in Agrelo (Luján de Cuyo), Los Arboles (Tunuyán), and Altamira (San Carlos). A blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec from vines that average 29 years and are planted at an average elevation of 3148 feet. The wine aged for nine months in 50% 2nd-use French & 50% 2nd -se American oak barrels. “Intense, dark ruby color with enticing aromas of ripe, black plums and black currants. The richly textured plum and currant flavors are joined by accents of dark chocolate and some vanilla-scented oak. The ripe, vibrant tannins give the wine beautiful structure and an amazingly long finish. This is a big wine for just a little money. Drink it now or over the next few years to enjoy the fruit flavors at their best. It will pair well with traditional Cabernet-friendly foods like grilled or roasted meats.” 15000 cases produced. Tasting $13.99