Storyby Manos Angelakis
Photos by Trivento Wines

Trivento Eolo Vineyard

Trivento Eolo

While acreage of Malbec vines is declining in France to almost extinction, in Argentina the grape is thriving and has become their "national grape".

Malbec is a thin-skinned grape that needs more sun and heat than either  Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to mature. It is very susceptible to  various grape diseases, most notably frost, coulure, downey mildew, and  rot; however, the development of new clones by Argentinean  viticulturists and more rigorous vineyard management techniques have  helped mitigate some of these plausible problems. As the Argentinean  wine industry discovered the unique quality of wine that could be made  from Malbec, the grape arose to greater prominence in that country and  is today the most widely planted red varietal. There are over 25,000  hectares planted with Malbec in Mendoza alone; there is also  considerable additional production in other Argentinean viticultural  areas such as La Rioja, Salta, Catamarca, Buenos Aires and a few other  regions.

Argentina's most highly  rated Malbec wines originate from the high altitude regions of Luján de  Cuyo and the Uco Valley, in elevation between 2,800 to 5,000 feet (800 m and 1500 m). In addition to numerous local luminaries, high-altitude  Mendoza has attracted many notable foreign winemakers including Michel  Rolland, Roberto Cipresso and François Lurton to name but a few. The  largest wine producer in Chile, Concha y Toro, purchased in the  mid-1990s 3,200 acres in Luján de Cuyo on the other side of the Andes  from Chile’s Central Valley to develop Trivento, a winery producing fine quality Malbec wines from that region.

Trivento Victoria Prandina

A few weeks ago I was invited to a lunch in NYC to meet Victoria  Prandina, the winemaker of Trivento, and taste a short vertical of their super-premium wine, the single vineyard Eolo produced from 9 acres of prime plots planted in 1912.

Trivento Eolo

I had tasted the 2012 vintage of Eolo early in 2015 and, at the time, I  considered it too young and hard. I thought that the tannins needed more bottle aging to integrate with the fruit. Tasting the same vintage more than a year later, paired with prime lamb chops, showed a completely  different wine, impressive and mature.

The vertical consisted of three vintages 2005 (the first Eolo vintage),  2012 and 2013. While the 2005 was dark ruby-red in color and almost  full- bodied, the 2012 and 2013 were both inky purple and full bodied.

The 2005 vintage was spicy, with jammy red fruit, hints of bay leaf and  prominent cigar-box. Black and red fruit aromas blended well with notes  of smoke, flowers, and Lapsang Souchong tea. The wine was a blend of  Malbec with 10% Syrah.

The 2012  vintage was 100% Malbec; and it was the favorite of all the food writers that were invited at the lunch. It had lots of floral aromas mixed in  with black plum and cherry jam; there were also hints of loam, graphite  and vanilla. It was fresh and plush on the palate with a silky texture.  It had an interesting, well balanced, long finish dominated by aromas of cocoa, pencil shavings and sweet tobacco.

The 2013, also 100% Malbec, was young, perfumed, with lots of violets, ripe black cherries, plums, citrus, chocolate and a hint of coconut on a  silky and elegant structure. There were well balanced fine tannins and  excellent acidity. Interesting citrus aromas were very evident in the  long finish.

All things considered, the 3 wines showed the possibility of longevity when properly cellared.

Victoria Prandina is a young woman with a well-developed palate and flawless  winemaking technique. She has been responsible for the development of Eolo since the beginning, initially under the supervision of Enrique  Tirado, one of Concha y Toro’s master winemakers. She has come into her  own, and I’m very appreciative of her skills. 




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