For two full days – December 11-12, 2014 – Doña Paula Winery carried out the 1st Argentine Terroir Workshop. This event – unprecedented in Mendoza – was attended by international guests related to the dissemination of wine culture, and it was held in the vineyards of the organizing winery on the first day and at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Mendoza, Argentina, on the second one. Its aim was educational – to train the palate according to the Argentine terroirs, to recognize their geographic features, to talk about the influence of the soils, altitude and latitude and, above all, to build a knowledge base on this subject that may contribute to the positioning of Argentine wines among the terroir wines of the world.
The guests included wine journalists, the gastronomic press, and recognized sommeliers from Argentina, Brazil, and Latin America. Also present among them were both finalists of the Best Sommelier Argentina Contest, whom Doña Paula – sponsor of the event – had rewarded with the invitation to the Workshop with all expenses paid.
The speakers were Tim Atkin MW – who has visited our country on more than ten occasions and writes the Argentina Wine Annual Report with over 700 labels –, Andrés Rosberg – President of the Argentine Sommelier Association – , Marcos Fernández – Doña Paula’s Chief Winemaker –, and Martín Kaiser – Doña Paula’s Chief Viticulturist.
In line with the significance of the event and allowing it to achieve a global reach, the activities were streamed online. An edited version of the presentations, with subtitles where appropriate, will shortly be available.
On the first day, participants visited the Uco Valley, going through Alluvia Vineyard, in Gualtallary, and Los Indios Vineyard, in Altamira, and attending a field class on soils. This stage was highly appreciated by foreign visitors, who enjoyed the on-site training, a unique experience for those who do not reside in wine regions. The visits to the vineyards and the analysis of soil pits and profiles were enhanced with a great Argentine countryside barbecue in the ‘Morada de los Andes’, in Vista Flores, and with a typical family dinner in ‘Fuente y Fonda’, in the city of Mendoza, to emphasize the roots of wine pairing in Argentina. On the second day, four presentations given by the above mentioned speakers with tastings of Argentine and imported wines took place in the ‘Salón de los Espejos’ – Hall of Mirrors – of the Hyatt Hotel.
“Terroir Research: influence of soil and climate on Malbec wines”
Speakers: Martín Kaiser and Marcos Fernández / Moderator: Andrés Rosberg / Panelist: Tim Atkin.
During this presentation, attendees could appreciate the different researches carried out by Doña Paula with respect to the subject matter of the event through various samples of Malbec which are part of the studies being conducted in diverse areas of the province of Mendoza.
“Gualtallary and Altamira”
Speaker: Andrés Rosberg / Moderator: Marcos Fernández / Panelists: Tim Atkin and Martín Kaiser.
On this occasion, the President of the Argentine Association of Sommeliers dealt with the current issues of the two perhaps most emblematic terroirs of the province and their different characteristics and virtues. Labels from different vineyards representing Gualtallary and Altamira were tasted and the significance of both terroirs in the future of the Argentine wine industry was discussed.
“Argentina in the world”
Speaker: Tim Aktin / Moderator: Andrés Rosberg / Panelists: Martín Kaiser and Marcos Fernández.
This presentation captured most of the attendees’ attention because of the importance not only of the speaker himself but also of the samples from France, Argentina and Chile that accompanied his words. Mr. Atkin provided an extensive overview of the current situation of the global wine market – of which he is a clear benchmark – as well as of the trends and perspectives that producers must take into account to put their labels in different markets of the world.
“Innovation in white wines”
Speaker: Marcos Fernández / Moderator: Andrés Rosberg / Panelists: Tim Aktin and Martín Kaiser.
The closing presentation was delivered by Doña Paula’s winemaker, who gave his opinion about the new exponents that can be seen among white grape varieties in our province and their projection in a world market which does not largely know this type of wines from the Argentina.
The workshop’s closing event was a wine pairing dinner in ’Azafrán’, in the city of Mendoza, with dishes exclusively created for Doña Paula’s wines. The menu was the responsibility of Pablo Ranea, Executive Chef of the host restaurant, whereas the wine pairing was led by Sommelier María Laura Ortiz, Certified Sommelier and A.S.I. Diploma.
About the Speakers
He is an award-winning wine writer and Master of Wine with 28 years’ experience. He writes for a number of publications, including The World of Fine Wine, Intelligent Life, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Imbibe, Decanter, Wine-Searcher, Fine Drink (China) and Woman and Home, appears regularly on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and is one of the Three Wine Men. He is a co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, the world’s most rigorously judged blind tasting competition, and has won over 25 awards for his journalism and photography.
He is the President of the Argentine Association of Sommeliers and of the Pan-American Alliance of Sommeliers, as well as Vice President of the International Sommellerie Association for the American Continent, collaborating with the organization and being part of the jury at national and international sommelier competitions all over the world. He has organized fairs, auctions and other wine-related events. He is a jury member at the Decanter World Wine Awards and other wine competitions. In 2013, he published his first book – ‘Más allá del Malbec’ (Beyond Malbec). He is the executive sommelier at the HG restaurant in Fierro Hotel, in Buenos Aires.
Born in Mendoza, Martín Kaiser earned his Agricultural Engineer degree from the National University of Cuyo in 1999 and his Master’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology from l´ Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Montpellier in 2001. Until 2005, he carried out management and consultancy works at various wine projects, and he was a professor and researcher in Vine Physiology at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences between 2001 and 2009. Since 2006, he has been in charge of Doña Paula’s vine-growing area as well as of its R&D area, where the “Argentine Terroirs Research” program is developed.
Marcos studied Enology at Don Bosco University, in Mendoza. He has worked as a winemaker in some of the most prestigious wineries in Argentina such as Norton, Chandon, Viña Cobos and Finca Decero. His professional performance went beyond the national borders as he worked with Paul Hobbs, in Napa Valley, for five vintages. In August 2014, Marcos Fernandez joined Doña Paula’s winemaking team and has since then been its Chief Winemaker.