Monday, 6 June 2016

Susana Balbo Wines

Jakarta, 19 May 2016

A selection of wines from Susana Balbo Wines presented by Cecile Terrien, Brand Manager.
Susana Balbo Wines (previously known as Dominio del Plata) is based in Mendoza, Argentina with wines made by Ben Marcos and the acclaimed, pioneering winemaker Susana Balbo; their labels include Crios, Nostros, Ben Marco and Susana Balbo ranges. Wines are distributed in Indonesia by PT Dimatique International.

2015 Crios Torrontes

A really fragrant and lifted nose of orange blossoms and acacia there; followed by citrus notes too. On the palate, bags of lemony freshness, with fruity acidity. Clean, runs through easily, with no harshness. Touch of spice at the end. Balanced, expressive and well executed: an excellent summer / picnic wine. Shows textbook Torrontes characters.

2014 Crios Malbec

Initially, red fruits and spice on the nose, definite whiff of white pepper, a lick of sweet vanilla oak too, progresses to violets, a touch alcoholic though. Good flavours, red fruits dominate with gentle acidity. Stylistically a lighter Malbec, not extracted, more towards an easy drinking style.

2014 Crios Cabernet Sauvignon

On the nose, more blueberries and darker fruits, slightly more depth than the Malbec. Hints of sweet oak and alcoholic notes too. On the palate, darker fruit compote with fruity acidity, clean flavours that runs through on the palate. Again, a lighter extraction and cooler style Cabernet.

2013 Ben Marco Cabernet Sauvignon

Dark fruit on the nose, quite jammy and forward, with some oak and vanilla notes. Palate carries through with the darker fruit flavours, with some sweet spice. Well balanced but definite step up in power and extraction. Good mid palate weight, beginning to see tannins. An elegant food wine.

2013 Ben Marco Expresivo
A blend of 65% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14 months in 100% new French Oak.

Darker fruit dominates the nose, its quite jammy and hot, with sweet spice flavours of anise and blackpepper; hints of sweet dark plums and violets too. On the palate, dark jammy compote and sweet spice flavours carries through, decent acidity keeps it from being cumbersome; textured with midpalate heft, good concentration of flavours and lingering ripe tannins. A big, more complex wine no doubt, but retains a decent punch too. The style may be a tad flashy for my liking, but theres plenty of quality fruit backing it up, drink 2020-2030+.

2014 Susana Balboa Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
13 months in oak with 80% new and 20% second-fill. Fermentation in concrete egg-shaped amphorae as well as barrels.

Aromas of dark fruit and cassis, but with green leaf and mint notes too, also sweet licorice and woody notes (in a good way). On the palate the fruit is fleshy, round and smooth, notes of dark plums and blackberries, there is fresh acidity running through and light tannic notes on the finish. This wine is the anti-thesis of flashy, even in its youth, everything feels balanced and integrated, all components singing harmoniously together, not shouting in different directions. Its not the most complex or concentrated wine, but I doubt it is trying to be. A wine to enjoy now through 2020+.

2013 Susana Balboa Brioso Single Vineyard
A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. 15 months in new French oak.

Bordeaux on steroids: aromas of cassis, dark plums and blackberries with secondary notes of cinnamon, clove and cigar box. Definite oak treatment shows, in the sweet, polished wood notes. Great to just sniff, smells like Christmas. Plenty of dark fruit on the palate, its almost heady in concentration of flavours; sweet dark jammy compote, ripe blackberries and spice, supported by sufficient acidity. Generous and rich on the palate, with elegant ripe tannins just gripping towards the long, complex finish. To call this a Bordeaux look alike would be an injustice, it is a classy effort by a vigneron at the top of her game. Properly built and framed, should age gracefully, drink 2020-2030+.

A notable theme running through all these wines is the ease with which they carry themselves. From the entry-level Crios to the single-vineyard Brioso, all showed elegance, balance and poise. These are not your jammy over-extracted Malbec fruit bombs from the Mendoza that is still trying to make a point. These are wines made with respect and sensitivity towards the grape and the terroir they come from, assured in showcasing the skill and style of the vigneron. Wonderful effort and a joy to taste. Bravo.