Truly Excellent Wines from Argentina

By M. Stefan - The Wine GuyPop quiz: who is the most respected and honored woman winemaker in the world?  Answer: Susana Balbo

Who the heck is she?
Answer: Owner and winemaker of Domino del Plata winery in Argentina
What does she make?
Only the best value wines anywhere on earth and some of the best high quality wines too.
Says who?
The Drinks Business magazine who named her “Woman Winemaker of the year”

Michael Mondavi who imports her wine to North America, Decanter Magazine, United Nations, The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker and others.

Recently, I had the opportunity to taste 4 of Susana Balbo’s recent releases. They are all available at Felipe Motta Wine Store in Coronado and they are all of excellent quality and superb values. Three of the wines belong to the Crios line which Susana has created for her 2 children to produce.  Crios means “offspring”.  Susana now concentrates on her higher end wines.  By the way, she was the first female winemaker in Argentina.  Talk about breaking the mold of the “old boys club”.

2014 Susana Balbo Crios Torrontes, $8.75, 14% alc. Argentina
Wonderful fruity nose with floral, apricot and spicy notes. Dry but well balanced.  Apricots, citrus and minerals. If you like Pinot Grigio, this will blow you away.  So much better than the run of the mill chardonnays at much higher cost. Best Buy

2015 Susana Balbo Crios Rose’ of Malbec, $8.75, 14% alc. Argentina
If you think pink means sweet, give this a try. Beautiful electric pink color. Dry with great fruit. Strawberries, grapefruit and cherries.  Clean finish.  Everybody I have introduced this to has loved it.  A rose for white wine drinkers and red wine drinkers. Forget “friend don’t let friends drink pink wines”.  A perfect cocktail wine and it goes with food too! Best Buy

2014 Crios Malbec, $ 10.15, 14% alc. Argentina
Deep purple, very young with berries, plum, tannin and well balanced. Deep fruit on the nose and finish. Great every day drinking, medium body red to be alone or with food. Best Buy

2012 Susana Balbo Briosa (single vineyard) $33.25, 14% alc.
This wine would blow away Napa Valley Cabernets costing 3 times the price.  A blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, cabernet franc and petit verdot from a vineyard at 1000 meters elevation.  A classic Bordeaux blend and smelling like it. Unfined and unfiltered, which means it is less manipulated and with more “real” flavors. Scents of wood, earth herbs and dark fruits.  Very full in the mouth.  Let it breath in an open bottle for a while or, even better, lay it down for a few years. Highly Recommended


M. Stefan has over 25 years experience in the wine trade and has traveled extensively throughout the wine producing regions of the world.  His column is a regular feature of La Playa Community.  He can be reached at and appreciates your comments.