From a near death experience to new life with Revancha Wines.
The word ‘Revancha’ refers to a replay and refers directly to co-owner Roberto de la Mota’s second chance at life after a devastating car accident that almost cost him his life in 2007. In his own words, “Life has given me a second chance - Revancha.”
Along with his long-time partner and co-owner, Anabelle Sielecki, (owner of the well-respected small-production Mendel Wines), Revancha Winery first saw light with the harvest of the 2009 crops. Sielecki’s contribution came in the form of her family’s 80-plus year-old vineyards of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Existing on original rootstock in the celebrated Lujan de Cuyo growing region of Argentina, these vineyards form the basis for Revancha Winery’s outstanding portfolio of wines.
The remarkable labels for Revancha Winery are inspired by chess pieces, pawn (peon), rook (La Primera) and king (La Gran) and bear witness to the winery’s gift of expression of varietal character in its wines as well as to the passionate world of chess and its complicated interchanges and attempts.
Today’s Revancha Winery is state-of-the-art in every respect and employs classic French Oak barrels in its aging process.
The mission statement of Revancha Winery says it all:
“When life beats us, losers lose,
Optimists learn and analyze, decide to play,
A rematch with a new strategy,
Searching for new horizons because we’re inspired by challenge,
And the passion for starting over, this great wine
Grown on the best piece of Mendoza land,
Invites us to discover a new way to see life.”
We are delighted to share these 3 award-winning wines from Argentina with our International Wine Club members. Cheers!
Map of the area
Taste the Adventure!
Our unique “Adventure Package” takes you beyond the wines to experience delectable selections of imported gourmet treats from the featured country. We take the time to search out regional delights to pair with the wines. All products are exclusive imports that represent the wine region along with the local culture.
See what's in the Argentina Adventure Package here.
Argentina: Fun Facts!
• Malbec, Argentina's flagship grape variety, arrived from France in the 1850’s, along with a host of French and other European grape varieties. The vines were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean by a French agronomist, Michel A. Pouget, at the request of Domingo Faustimo Sarmiento who, in 1853, vowed to transform the quality of Argentina’s wine industry.
• The belief that the country held a great wealth of silver deposits resulted in the name, ‘Argentina,’ which comes from the Latin word for silver, argentum.
• Many of Argentina’s vineyards are located in the high altitude of the country’s western region, near the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Ranging from 2,000-4,900 feet above sea level, these are some of the highest altitudes for vineyards in the world.
• Argentina is home to the highest and lowest points in the southern hemisphere. Aconcagua is 22,831 feet above sea level and Laguna del Carbon is 344 feet below sea level.
• More Malbec is produced in Mendoza, Argentina than anywhere else in the world. More wine is produced in Argentina than in any other country on the continent. In fact, over 70% of Argentina’s wines are grown in Mendoza, which makes it the sixth largest producer of wine in the world.
• Argentina has the world’s largest waterfall system in its Iguazu Falls on the Iguazu River. The falls have a 275 ft. drop and a width of 269 feet.
• Argentina is regarded as the original place for the tango, a dance that is growing in significance worldwide. The tango originated around the end of the 19th century in the slaughterhouse district of Buenos Aires.
• The city of Ushuaia lays claim to be the southernmost inhabited city in the world.
Flag of Argentina
The history of Argentina’s flag dates back to 1812 when it was designed by revolutionary military leader Manual Belgrano. The white middle band is said to represent silver (the country was named Argentina after the Latin word ‘Argentum,’ meaning silver, thinking the region contained vast amounts of the metal). The blue bands represent the sky, the waters of Argentina’s Rio de la Plata, or the blue used by the Spanish royal house of Bourbon on their coat of arms. In the center of the flag is a national emblem, a sun symbol named ‘el sol de mayo’ (the sun of May), after Argentina’s May revolution that lead to the nation’s independence from Spain. The symbol also pays homage to the Incan Sun God Inti, as the ancient Incas worshipped the sun and its life-giving power.
Roberto de la Mota - Winemaker
If ever a winemaker was destined for greatness, then Revancha Winery’s Roberto de la Mota should definitely be considered for that claim. De le Mota is the son of legendary Argentina winemaker, Raul de la Mota, considered by many to be the country’s best and most famous winemaker for decades. Roberto de la Mota likes to joke that he was born in a winery, and that is probably closer to the truth than one could imagine. When he reached college age, de la Mota first studied at the National University of Cuyo and then at the School Technico Agraria Michel Pouget in Mendoza, where he graduated with a Bachelors of Agricultural Technical and Oenology degree in 1979. He then moved to France, and, a decade later received the Diplome National d’Oenologue de France, from the country’s finest agricultural institution.
He also worked for legendary French winemaker and innovator Dr. Emile Peynaud (think Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Leoville Las Cases) in Bordeaux and was winemaker for the prestigious Bodega Chandon (and developer of the most successful Terrazzas de los Andes wine program) and Cheval de los Andes, a joint venture with France’s Château Cheval Blanc that became an international success.
Tragedy struck de la Mota in 2007 in the form of a serious car accident that nearly ended his life, a fact that the daunting Argentine has managed to overcome over time. Despite being partially paralyzed and operating from a wheelchair, Roberto de la Mota has continued to produce world-class quality wines at the highest level.
In 2009, Roberto’s son Rodrigo joined his father in the family business and began studies in agronomy while assisting his father with blending duties at the winery. This action assured that the great tradition of de la Mota family winemaking would continue well into the future, a boon to world-wide wine lovers from Argentina’s first family of winemaking.
Aside from his own wines, Roberto de la Mota prefers outstanding Bordeaux châteaux that surrounded him during his early wine experiences. He recently opened a 1982 Château Cheval Blanc (St. Emilion) and pronounced it, “a spectacular wine.” He also modestly refers to himself as simply “a true blender of wines.” It seems fitting that others have recently begun referring to his Revancha Winery selections with the same selection of words.
Argentina's Wine History
For the past two and one-half decades, a single grape varietal has been responsible for the increase in international reputation for Argentina’s burgeoning fine wine industry. That grape is the French Bordeaux varietal, Malbec, which was formerly used as a blender for other better-known Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The fact is, Argentina can trace its wines back many centuries. The first plantings were recorded around 1550, when Spanish colonizers rooted the first vitis vinifera vines in the country.
Then, back in the middle of the 19th Century, Malbec found its way to Argentina at the hands of French agronomist Miguel Aime Pouget. For some unexplained reason, Malbec thrived in the semi-arid climate of Argentina’s high-altitude wine growing regions, and over time, became the country’s most reliable (for quality) grape.
Also, the grapevines of Argentina (and Chile, too) have proven to be phylloxera resistant and have been planted on ungrafted rootstock, a factor that impedes potential infiltration by the worrisome pest. Many Argentine vineyards are between 75 and 100 years old or older, and produce relatively low yields. This factor makes for excellent quality for the finished wine.
As in other countries, Argentina has benefited from the global surge in small, upscale wineries that have risen over the past two decades. These wineries are well equipped and capable of competing on the international wine stage. Today, there are more acres planted in Argentina than the combined plantings of Australia and New Zealand, both highly visible wine producers on the international wine scene.
Argentina continues to be the fifth largest producer of wine in the world (and largest in South America) with an extremely high percentage of its products being consumed within its own borders. Interestingly, in November of 2010, the Argentine government declared wine as Argentina’s national liquor.
It is not surprising that a number of top French (and other European) wine entities have chosen to make financial investments in Argentina. They see the investments as hedges against their own country’s financial fluctuations.
Much of the credit for this country’s rise in quality and popularity should be given to the country’s growers who internally decided to limit yields of their fruit in an effort to improve quality. This resultant quality aspect has fueled the country’s exports and placed a number of Argentine wines in international competitions against the top worldwide wines where they have shown admirably. Among the country’s 1,600-plus wineries, almost two-thirds fall into the boutique (production around 2,000 to 3,000 cases or less) category of wineries.
A number of Argentine wines (mostly from the smaller, boutique wineries that have sprung up) have even sold for hundreds of dollars a bottle, a feat that was undreamed of at the turn of the century. A number of sophisticated restaurants in larger cities around the globe have included a selection of excellent Argentine wines (mostly Malbec or Malbec blends) that have boosted the nation’s ever-improving reputation amongst wine aficionados who seek the ultimate pairing of correct wine and food.
We trust that everyone will enjoy this excellent International Wine Club Selection from one of Argentina’s finest wine producers. Salut!
Lujan de Cuyo of Mendoza
The undeniable star of Argentina’s growing regions is the Lujan de Cuyo growing area that lies about a half-hour’s drive almost due south of Mendoza, the country’s wine producing capital city and namesake of the country’s finest viticultural growing area. For the record, a little more than 60% of all grapes grown in the country originate within the boundaries of the Mendoza growing area.
Lujan de Cuyo is the largest sub-region of the Mendoza viticultural area that stretches some 20 miles between the Andes Mountains and the Lunlunta Hills. Its location is in the rain shadow of the Andes that produces a dry, almost desert-like climate.
Its altitude varies from around 2,000 feet to around 3,600 feet and benefits from high daytime temperatures and cooler nights. This diurnal temperature variation slows overnight ripening of the grapes and extends the growing season, thus ensuring the development of full phenolic ripeness without sacrificing the all-important degree of acidity. Soils are alluvial and fairly uniform throughout the valley. The ground is mostly clay and rock base with a stony, sandy surface that are free-draining and provide an optimal environment for the grapevines that utilize the nearby Mendoza River for their irrigation needs.
It is in the Lujan de Cuyo and neighboring sub-regions that the majestic Malbec reaches its zenith and is the setting that has pushed the varietal into the top echelons of international favor, as well as reestablishing Argentina as a top flight wine producing country. Malbec happens to age gracefully in the bottle, as do other established Bordeaux varietals and provides another marketing aspect for wineries that feature the grape in their portfolios.
Lujan de Cuyo is lovingly referred to by locals as “the father of Malbec,” a moniker that has proven to be a boon to a number of its wineries.
The Lujan de Cuyo growing area is directly north of the established Uco Valley that is favorably compared to California’s Napa Valley due to its comparable size and dimensions. A growing number of international wine insiders consider Lujan de Cuyo’s fruit and finished wines as superior to those of its better-known neighbor in the United States, but the matter is open to individual interpretation. We’ll let everyone decide for themselves on that one.
Wine Regions of Argentina
Known as the land of contrasts, Argentina offers one of the most diverse groups of wine growing regions in the world. From the high summits of the Andes, to the broad valleys and sloping plains, to the lush forests and absolutely arid deserts, to the glaciers and waterfalls, Argentina is home to every landscape you can imagine - and thus, a multitude of wine growing possibilities. This wealth of natural ecosystems, paired with the unusually high average altitude, and wide range of temperatures, give Argentine wines their unique identity and quality. The most popular wine growing region is Mendoza, from which this month’s International Wine Club features were produced.