One of the most fascinating things about wine is its intrinsic intersection of culture, food, history, and nature. When you combine a multi-faceted winemaker with unique terroir, these elements come alive in particularly vivid wines such as those made by German di Cesare, winemaker at Bodega Trivento Argentina. I had the great pleasure to have lunch with German last week, when he took me through a tasting of his wines which are from various districts within Argentina’s Mendoza region.
An avid horseman, guitar player, folk singer, and chef, in addition to winemaker, German has ridden his horse across the Andes many times – without even a tent! He says that the experience is beautiful, the scenery pristine, and the cold at the mountain top isn’t bad if you just tuck your head down and keep going. German exudes an aura of calm and connectedness to nature which he clearly embodies in his beautiful wines as well.
Trivento makes several ranges, including the introductory Reserve line, led by Trivento Reserve Malbec, the Amado Sur (“southern love” in Spanish) wines, Golden Reserve, an ultra-premium range of terroir-driven varietals, and Eolo, the winery’s single-vineyard icon wine.
Each range offers a different twist, as well as a different price point. The Reserve line, priced at approximately $11, comprises premium quality varietals, while the Amado Sur wines (approximately $15) are typically blends. The Golden Reserve and Eolo each focus on a single varietal. Argentina’s signature grapes of Torrontés (white) and Malbec (red) feature prominently in Trivento’s wines, with interesting blends that include the Amado Sur Torrontés-Viognier-Chardonnay mix, and the Amado Sur Malbec-Bonarda-Syrah combination.
Trivento’s vineyards lie in the Uco Valley, Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo, San Martin, and Rivadavia districts of Mendoza, which all receive the benefits of high-altitude, diurnal temperature shifts, and three prevailing winds in different seasons that provide fruit concentration, temperature moderation, and disease control. Trivento itself means “Three Winds” in Spanish, in homage to this critical feature of the local climate.
Trivento itself is owned by Chile’s Concha y Toro, but runs autonomously with a pronounced emphasis on the winery’s 400 Argentine employees and social responsibility. For example, Trivento offers the equivalent of GED classes on-site every week for employees who missed out on their middle and high-school education, plus celebrations of Mother’s and Father’s Days, as well as Friends Day (July 20). All employees are also free to start their weekend at 3pm each Friday.
With 35-million liters of capacity and 3,185 acres of vineyards, Trivento enjoys the best of both large and small winery features, with the ability to produce large-production wines, but also to focus on smaller-scale, terroir-driven wines and to maintain the small-company feel that their employees have come to appreciate. There are plenty of wines for us to enjoy too through the selections below.
The 2018 Trivento White Orchid Reserve ($11) is a Torrontés and Pinot Grigio blend that tasted of bright citrus with a faint herbal note. Zesty acidity and a creamy mouthfeel from 6 months on lees made this wine lively and refreshing - perfect for a summer picnic. It was like a bright sunny day in a glass.
The 2017 Trivento Reserve Malbec ($11) was direct and straightforward, with crisp red fruit and soft earthy notes of fresh-tilled soil. Very well-balanced, with a sweet and savory yin yang, this wine is ideal for a barbeque and an easy-drinking red, even on a hot summer day. It reminded me of picking raspberries as a child, with those brambly aromas captured in the bottle. This wine, incidentally, is the largest selling Argentinian wine brand in the U.K. and Europe, with over half of its 9-million case production going to these regions.
The 2017 Amado Sur Malbec Blend ($15) is one of winemaker German Di Cesare’s favorites -- and it’s easy to see why. This wine combines the red fruit of Malbec with the zesty acidity, deep color, and plum fruit notes of Bonarda, and the sinewy depth of Syrah at the core. Another everyday drinker, this wine had additional complexity, elegance, and a vibrant freshness due to its harmonious blend.
The 2016 Golden Reserve Malbec ($21) is a single varietal wine sourced from prime vineyards of Mendoza’s Luján de Cuyo zone, located at higher elevations. Plots from the north and south sides of the Mendoza River are blended together to create this savory blend. The north riverside features alluvial sand soils, which produce grapes with more pronounced flavors and tannins, while the south side, with its clay soil, yields grapes with a rounder profile and softer tannins.
All of this came together in a robust wine with alluring aromas of blackberry, warm rock, and a whiff of rich black earthiness. On the palate, this wine cascaded into black plum, iron, and spicy cedar with a long persistent savory finish. This wine was a great expression of pure Malbec and one to make someone fall in love with the variety.
We concluded with the 2015 Eolo Malbec ($79). This single-vineyard wine had a seductive aroma with great depth and concentration on the mineral-driven palate. Flavors of tar, forest-floor, and ripe black fruit were showcased by fine-grained dusty tannins and lively acidity in this well-structured wine. German thinks this wine is best in winter, but if you’re a big red fan like I am, anytime is good for an exceptionally well-made bottle like this. And it was even better a few days later.
Look for these wines in the Chicago area: they are the perfect complement for fall with their earthy flavors and crisp freshness. German does a remarkable job of capturing nature’s purity and exuberance in the bottle and they shine at every price point.