In a country dominated by male winemakers, Susana Balbo stands out not only for her gender, but for her incredible skill and experience. She has been making wine since she earned her enology degree in 1981, and she has probably produced a wider variety of wines than any other winemaker in Argentina. Susana was the first Argentine winemaker to be hired as a consultant to make wine outside of Argentina. She has made wine in Australia, California, Chile, France, Italy, South Africa, and Spain, and she spends a month each year in a different wine region of the world studying with local winemakers and growers.
After twenty years of producing wines for others, Susana decided it was time to apply her education and experience to her own wines and put her name right on the bottle. Susana strives for balance in her wines, with layers of complexity coming from the individually fermented varietals. She wants people who drink her wines to feel that every sip from the glass is as exciting as the first.
The label features figurines from a silver Huarpe Indian necklace that Susana owns. The figures represent women’s reproductive role as the connection between the past, present, and future. She considers her role as winemaker to be the connection between the vineyards (past), the winemaking (present), and the finished wines (future).
As you look at stylistic issues, I think it’s best to view Susana’s red wines as a bridge in style between Bordeaux and California. Certainly they have more fruit opulence than France but she walks well clear of that ‘overtly ripe’ fruit line that several of the Californian and Aussie producers seem to bulldoze their way right over. Her wines are seamless and well structured with an elegance that is certainly not from the new world. They all seem to show a faint earthiness in their aromas which is a hallmark of the Mendoza region but they are not in the slightest bit vegetal as we often find with some Chileans. This is one producer whose wines have found a home in my own cellar. 1999 and 2000 were both excellent vintages in Argentina and are a good representation of her style and her talent. We are especially happy that Susana elected to produce a more moderately priced line up last year and many will recall our excitement with the “Crios” Cabernet Sauvignon which went down really well at $12.99. The “Crios” (meaning offspring) lineup has been expanded this year to include three very well priced and provocative new releases. Be sure to try them out.
See Susana Balbo wines we sell