On Wednesday, October 18th, I had the pleasure of attending the ‘White Wine Revolution’ event at Mostrador, a famous Argentinean spot in NYC, where I met Susana Balbo, Argentina’s first female Winemaker. During the event, I had the opportunity to experience a vertical tasting of Torrontés with Susana Balbo and her son José Lovaglio Balbo, the next generation of the winery.
Meet Susana Balbo the Queen of Torrontes
Susana Balbo is a true force of nature, a very knowledgeable woman in business and life. Despite being the only oenologist focusing on Torrontes, her leadership stands out the most. She has been a woman winemaker for decades and has faced life’s obstacles with courage and grace. Seeing her lead by example was genuinely inspiring, and it filled me with joy to witness someone whose actions speak louder than words. I couldn’t help but feel motivated.
Since creating the first world-class Torrontés in the early 1980s in the high-altitude desert paradise of Cafayate in the Salta province, to the present day at the foot of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Winemaker Susana Balbo’s vision has forged a path to position the winery as a leader for South American wine. With a daring and entrepreneurial spirit, Susana Balbo is synonymous with innovation, excellence, and sustainability.
During her time in Salta, Susana Balbo reclaimed Torrontés as her own. Balbo’s endeavor made Torrontes the region’s most notable white varieta. Therefore, Susana inspired the ‘White Wine Revolution’ that not only reshaped how consumers view Argentine wine but also inspired other winemakers from the region to discover the country’s potential for world-class whites.
This grape became Argentina’s flagship white variety due to Susana’s boundary-pushing mentality. Torrontes produces fresh, aromatic wines with moderately crisp, smooth texture and distinctive lychee, and stone fruit bouquet.
Susana Balbo Torrontes Vertical Wine Tasting
During the vertical tasting, we explored eight (8) vintages of Torrontes. The vintages were: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
My favorite vintage was the 2019! That was a cold vintage, but moreover, it was an inflection point, as it was when I started to discover hints and nuances of secondary and tertiary aromas and flavors of Torrontes.
Indeed, it was a unique opportunity to be immersed in a current Balbo investigation on the aging power of her beloved grape.
Her wines are widely known as the benchmark for Torrontes, and their aging capacity has yet to be discovered by even the most experienced palates.
Following the tasting session, we were treated to a delightful luncheon prepared by Argentine Chef Fernando Trocca. Trocca designed a special menu that captured the essence of Argentina and features two exclusive Torrontés selections: Susana Balbo Blanco de Gualtallary and Susana Balbo Naranjo de Raiz. The discussion flow over wines, Argentina and of course Torrontes. The inspiration kept running higher but moreover the aging potential of Torrontes is yet to develop another challenge for Mrs. Balbo.