One of the highlights of our trip to Mendoza was finally being able to taste our very own wine, Vector South Rosé! It was a long time coming as the anticipation over the last few months had been growing steadily, but in the end it was worth the wait.
We must of course give a big thanks to the whole team at the Vines who helped make this happen including Mariana and Jorgelina Masso who was able to have the labels ready for us even though the bulk of the labels weren’t due to be printed until May for export.. Next step is to have the wine sent to the US in May and we can’t wait to try Vectors South Rosé with our family and friends.
If you think at first look or taste that our Rosé is a bit different than the typical Rosé you find in your local wine shop, you’d be 100% right. Since Vectors South rosé is made from Malbec grapes, it will be a bit darker in color and fuller bodied in taste than the most French Rosé’s from Provence.
Vectors South Rosé is also made using the the bleeding, or saignée in French. Rosé is typically made by leaving the juice in contact with the skins for a short amount of time, as most of the color in red wine comes from the skins. The longer the juice stays in contact with the grapes, the darker the wine.
The rosé bleeding method is used to make Rose as merely a by product of red wine. While the grapes and juice are vinifying, some of the juice is “bled” or leaked out and then left to vinify as a rosé, while the rest of the juice is left in contact with the grapes to produce a red wine.
Clearly Vectors South rosé will be a bit different, perhaps a bit fuller and richer (perfect to accompany say, Salmon) it still maintains the crisp, refreshing aspects of rosé that we all love and has seen it surge in popularity over the past few years in the US, especially in summer.
Although our main goal at Vectors South is to make red wines (Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and blends) we think Rosé is the perfect introduction to our wine especially in the hot Maryland summer months. We hope that this particular Rosé, as it is made from Malbec grapes after all, will reflect Argentina in that it should be shared with great food and even better company, preferable during the aperativo of an asado (Argentine barbecue) or during the fish course.
At the crack of dawn on April 2nd, after just under 24 hours in Buenos Aires, we hopped aboard our Aerolines Argentinas flight to Mendoza to take part in our first harvest as owners of Vectors South vineyard.
Before setting out to our hotel, Vines of Mendoza, we stopped at Casa Vigil for lunch, obviously accompanied by a few flights of Casa Vigil’s El Enemigo line of wines. The setting was truly ideal. Even though we arrived a bit early, they found a table for us out back where we were immediately greeted by a few members of the staff who offered us a juicy, vegetable and cheese empanada and a bit of water on the hot Mendoza day.
One of the things that first attracted us to Casa Vigil and El Enemigo wines was there commitment and faith in growing and producing Cabernet Franc in Argentina. Mendoza is, and hopefully always will be, the undisputed capital of Malbec, but Cabernet Franc has serious potential in Mendoza, particularly the Uco Valley. The fact that it was started by Alejandro Vigil, wine making for the famed Catena Zapata family winery, and historian Adrianna Catena, one of the heirs to the Argentina’s greatest winemaking empire.
Cabernet Franc is virtually unknown in the US outside of those in the wine and food industry, and not so long ago the same was true in Argentina, but in recent years the grape and the peppery-flavorerd wine it produces has been making great waves in Mendoza, as many of the top winemakers are following Alejandro Vigil and his team into making arguably the best Cab Franc in the world.
For many novices, it is easy to confuse Cabernet Franc with its more famous offspring Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, believe it or not, the Cabernet Franc grape is one of the genetic parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, the other of course being Sauvignon Blanc (hence the name).
Although not as good big as Malbec, Cabernet Franc still accompanies red meat perfectlyy and it went perfectly with our delicious short ribs that had been cooking on the parrilla (Argentine grill) throughout the night. We were able to try a few different Cabernet Franc’s from El Enemigo, each made with grapes grown from different parts of the Uco Valley at different altitudes. Our favorite was El Cepillo, but we did buy a bottle of the 2013 Gran Enemigo from the Gualtallary Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc, which was given a 100 point rating by Maryland native Robert Parker in the Wine Advocate. We strongly recommend that if anyone gets a chance to go to Mendoza to head to Casa Vigil and if they can find the wine in the States to not hesitate in buying.
The rest of our lunch was equal to the short ribs as we started our meal with two staples of Argentine cuisine: the provoleta (grilled provolone cheese) and morcilla (blood sausage, or black pudding), which were accompanied by some other wines, including a delicious, buttery chardonnay. Although we are not traditionally chardonnay fans, the high altitude chardonnay from the Uco Valley always has us reevaluating our stance. We also tried the Bonarda (a local grape) and a red blend, based off a traditional Bourdeux blend.
Since we embarked on this project of producing our own wine in Uco Valley, making Cabernet Franc and also red blends has been one of our goals. Although Malbec still remains our favorite, Cab Franc is nipping at its heels, and there is no doubt that, at least to our taste buds, Cabernet Franc and Malbec blend is truly the perfect mix for a red blend.