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A Taste of Susana Balbo Wines

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Simply put, I love Susana Balbo wines. So, when I recently received four bottles of her CRIOS brand, I was quite pleased.

Susana Balbo is the founder and owner of Susana Balbo Wines located in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza in western Argentina close to the Andes Mountains.  

Susana Balbo Winery  Photo credit: Susana Balbo Wines

Due to the close proximity of the Andes, the vineyards are subject to a hot, dry climate during the day and cool alpine winds in the evenings, thus allowing the grapes to develop and ripen slowly while reaching full tannic ripeness and maintaining their acidity.

Susana is not only the most well known Argentinian female winemaker globally, but she is also the first female enologist in Argentina!  With over thirty years of experience in the wine industry, Susana has built an impressive career and produces some outstanding wines.

From an early age, Susana strayed from wanting a traditional “female” education by electing to study nuclear physics in Bariloche.  However, her parents would not let her leave Mendoza to pursue this path. So, Susana made a decision to follow the family’s wine business and in 1981, she graduated from Don Bosco University with a degree in enology, becoming the first female enologist in Argentina and challenging the male-dominated wine industry in Mendoza.  Susana’s career began at Michel Torino winery in the Salta province where she made her first wine in 1983. It was the first vintage of Torrontés from Salta.  She then continued on to work at many other well-regarded wineries and also worked as a consultant winemaker for national and worldwide wineries before “birthing” Susana Balbo Wines in 1999.  Her first vintage was released in 2002.

Susana’s two children are an integral part of the business. Her son José joined the team in 2011 as winemaker and her daughter Ana joined in 2012 as marketing manager.

Susana, Ana and José. Photo credit: Susana Balbo Wines

The CRIOS brand was created by Susana as a tribute to her son and daughter. CRIOS in Spanish means “offspring”.  To quote Susana Balbo Winery, “CRIOS wines express Susana's love and dedication to her children, José and Ana. Today, Susana's CRIOS have grown and matured, just like her children who now work with her at the family winery.”  The grapes for this brand are harvested from specific areas in Mendoza and Salta where grapes are optimal for the fruit-forward style of CRIOS.

CRIOS Torrontés 2018 is 100% Torrontés hand-harvested from vineyards in Cafayete (Salta) and Uco Valley (Mendoza) regions at an elevation of 5,600 ft.  Cafayete region has sandy-loam soils and the Uco Valley is known for its complex mix of soils that include stones, sand and limestone. 
Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This wine is pale lemon with green hues. A lovely floral bouquet is infused with citrus and a hint of pear. And the palate offers a refreshing blend of acacia, pear, citrus, green apple and crisp acidity. This is a perfect wine to serve as an aperitif or serve with seafood, light pasta and Asian cuisine.

Alcohol:  13.5%
SRP:  $15

CRIOS Rosé of Malbec 2018 is 100% Malbec hand-harvested from vineyards in the Uco Valley region at an elevation of 3,700 ft. 
Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This Rosé has a vibrant coral color with subtle notes of strawberry, peach, red cherry and a hint of vanilla on the nose.  This is a dry, refreshing and lively wine with crisp acidity. Soft notes of strawberry and sweet spice linger on the palate leading to a creamy finish. Serve as an aperitif or pair with fish, salads and light appetizers.

Alcohol:  14.5%
SRP:  $15

CRIOS Malbec 2018 is 100% Malbec hand-harvested from vineyards in the Uco Valley region at an elevation of 3,700 ft. This wine was aged for nine months in French oak. 
Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This wine has a rich purple color with juicy aromas of violets, cherry, plum, berries and spice. Notes of plum, cherry, pomegranate and spice tease the palate with a delightful finish of mocha and pepper. Tannins are nicely balanced with acidity. Serve with grilled meat, tuna, hearty stews and aged cheese.

Alcohol:  13.9%
SRP:  $15

CRIOS Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon hand-harvested from vineyards in the Uco Valley region at an elevation of 3,700 ft.  This wine was aged for nine months in French oak. 
Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This wine is deep red bordering on purple with aromas of plum, floral, spice, dark berries and sour cherry. A lush palate of dark berries, plum, espresso and sweet spice ends with a lingering finish of anise and pepper. A nice balance of bright acidity and soft tannins rounds out this wine. Serve with grilled meat, fowl, hearty stew and spicy cuisine.

Alcohol:  14.5%
SRP:  $15

The handprint logo that is on each CRIOS bottle is of three overlapping hands representing the generations involved in making this quality wine. It also symbolizes Susana’s love for her children and acknowledges hands as powerful tools in accomplishing a mission together. 

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

Family working together, producing wine out of love and a passion for quality and the land…it doesn’t get any better!

Until next time…


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