I recently returned from a trip, a long trip that took me away from the Argentine terroirs to learn about the lands and latitudes of other parts of the world, and to understand and appreciate other cultures and soak up some other wines.
I realised that sometimes you have to take a step away from things to see them more clearly. And that’s how I came upon this reflection on the current reality of Argentina as a wine producing country.
As always I prefer to focus on the glass half full, and so I say that today, for those closely linked to wine at any stage of the chain, from producer to consumer, we are in a wonderful place for Argentine wine and its history. We are witnessing and participating in a time that challenges our senses, emotions and hopes.
Hear, read, think, try, ask. I see so many wineries in Argentina making great wines, many people with restless hearts, often deaf to reason. Pushing the boundaries and limits that once seemed immovable. The sensible elegance of women who bring up issues about wine, that men will never understand. Many lost souls, questioning the processes, the established, taking less and less for granted, giving rise to doubt, reopening judgments that seemed closed; and all for a good cause; to take Argentine wine to another level of expression and enjoyment for the senses.
Many people in whom we can confide our dreams and wine fantasies, many terroirs to observe and contemplate in silence; or through a glass, hoping that the wine which was formed in the heart of the terroir, can tell us something.
Great generations brought us to where we are now. Generations of tireless, stubborn and generous people. Creating a new reality, planting vines where the desert reigns absolute, where stones and sand have been transported for millennia. Because winemaking is not for lukewarm or indifferent hearts, it requires an internal, burning fire, so much so that some of those flames need to be released.
This is because to care for plants and make wine, there are shocks that hit hard and scare the bravest of men. An early frost, a hailstorm, a Zonda in full swing, a week of rain, anything can dent the soul, but the fire still burns and is never quenched.
Sometimes I think that plant stress is not only due to lack of water, poor soils or those extreme weather conditions that shape our wines. At times I think the vines are stressed by technicians there in the vineyards, in their parcels, searching their home, looking for new challenges for them to overcome and new evidence that will produce better grapes each year.
Wine lovers, adjust your belts, prepare your glasses and never stop looking for reasons to celebrate because some amazing wines are on their way. A slap to the senses, wines full of soul and joy, wines that come from crazy ideas, wines that awaken feelings that we didn’t know we had.
And I am reminded of a quote from Pedro Bonifacio Palacios, known as Almafuerte, in his Seven Medicinal Sonnets he said “Todo lo alcanzarás solemne loco, siempre que lo permita tu estatura!” (roughly translated as “you can reach what your height permits”). And here there are many crazies, reaching unimaginable heights.