Let Archer Roose be your passport to Argentina! Sebastian San Martin, one of our expert wine makers, will be your guide. Two-thirds of the nation’s wine production is from Argentina’s most important and prolific wine region of Mendoza. With an intense almost desert like climate condition, most of the vineyards are 3,000-5,000 feet above sea level. The Uco Valley, where our Malbec is made, produces 14% of all Argentinean wine. I caught up with Sebastian during the recent harvest. Sebastian is incredibly mindful not only in his approach to wine making but also to life. Speaking with him is like chatting with an old friend. So open your can of Archer Roose Malbec and let's start the adventure.
Sebastian, we’ve been unable to travel for so long! Where's the first place you would take us?
Mendoza is on the foot of the great Andes, plenty of beautiful places for hiking. Eat a good barbecue in the middle of the vineyard in Autumn surrounded by a chromatic show of colours from orange to purple is something unforgettable.
What are your favorite foods in your region?
I love all food, fusion food, French, Spanish, Italian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, everything. I think the quality of the components is the most important. Fresh, hopefully organic, and harvest in the perfect moment, like grapes. I also love seafood and on the weekends a good barbecue.
Which wines do you love to drink?
I like all wines!!! It depends on what I am eating. A Sauvignon Blanc in front of the Chilean Pacific can't be better and a Malbec with a well done pasta or a robust Cabernet Sauvignon with a lamb barbecue is perfect.
I agree! There’s a wine for every food. But speaking of BBQ makes me hungry now, which restaurants shouldn't we miss in Mendoza?
My favourite is Brindillas https://www.brindillas.com/index-en.php. The chef did work in Japan and in Cataluña in a restaurant close to El Guri (same school and style). It is absolutely outstanding and superior quality. After that, there are other good places with reasonable quality. A small restaurant in La Consutla village "El Cielo" https://valledeuco.info/item/el-cielo/ has a good kitchen. Don Mario http://donmario.com.ar has good meat in Mendoza city. Club Tapiz http://www.club-tapiz.com.ar/en/restaurante-club-tapiz/restaurante-club-tapizalso is very nice.
You are building quite a reputation in the market of organic and sustainable wines . What would you consider as your defining characteristics as a winemaker?
I am a seeker of great terroirs. I think 80% of the quality is in the vineyard. This mean finding the combination of soil, weather and the right vines for that place, and the viticulture management to obtain high quality grapes. I try to make wines that respect the fruit and the terroir definition. Extracting polyphenols [Wine polyphenols come from grapes, mainly from the skins, are a subset of antioxidants.] in the right moment is critical and that involve tasting the wine throughout the process to adjust the work and understand how the grapes will come in every year (seed maturity, chemical balance, etc). And take care the wine during the year to end with the wine preserving all their potential.
How is the 2021 harvest looking?
I think this is going to be a great year. Rainy and challenging in terms of health for the vines but those vineyards who worked correctly will have great quality. We had a mix of beauty warm and sunny days with cloudy and rainy days. The end of maturity was crucial to define the quality and the end of March and beginning of April came with clean blue sky maximum temperatures around 25ºC, perfect for a fantastic end of ripening on the seeds and skin of the berries.
And lastly, what excites you about wine right now?
I am happy playing with other varieties this year like a Biodynamic Cabernet Franc from La Consulta. A lovely Cabernet Sauvignon from Ugarteche and still waiting on a wonderful Malbec from Altamira in La Consulta. Slow slow slow maturity, will be the icing on the cake. Also waiting on a Cab from Vista Flores in Uco that I love. Also happy to make all the wines with native yeast and happy with the fantastic team at the winery, sharing lunch and making the wines in a lovely human environment.
Sebastian San Martin - Sebastian's love of nature and the outdoors brought him to wine when he fell in love and followed his fiancé to Argentina. (Sebastian was born in Chile.) Years into his career - after he was appointed technical manager for the Argento Wine Company, a leading wine brand in Argentina, Sebastian discovered that his great grandfather had also worked in wine. He worked for the Sultan in Turkey and traveled to Argentina with a group of experts in viticulture, hired by the Argentinean government to advise on vineyard management. Same work as Sebastian, same place, 100 years apart.