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News - 26.02.12

AWA2012 Seminar: alcohol and oak at the heart of debate

During the 6th International Seminar on Successful Wines & Styles, twelve winemakers from all over the world focused their lectures on how wines of the future should be. Their conclusions: fruity, sweet, with less oak and lower alcohol level.

The 6th edition of the International Seminar on Successful Wines & Styles was held on February 24, in Mendoza, Argentina. It consisted of 12 international judges -all of them top winemakers- who have assessed over 3 days the Argentine wines submitted to the Argentina Wine Awards contest.

Michael Silacci (United States),  Joey Tensley (United States), Gilles Pauquet (France), Marlene Soria (France), Alastair Maling (New Zealand), Barbara Tamburini (Italy), Graziana Grassini (Italy), Vittorio Fiore (Italy), Anthony Hamilton Russell (South Africa), Andrea Mullineux (South Africa), Marcelo Retamal (Chile), and Robert Pepi (United States) were the international winemakers making up the panel to assess 734 wine samples and announce the world’s best wines at the 6th Seminar on Successful Wines & Styles.

High or low? With or without?

With or without oak? High or low alcohol level? National and international winemakers opened the debate.

Bob Pepi, highlighted that the prime work is carried out in the vineyard. “It is there where the desired quality is achieved,” he maintained. Besides, he denied the need of adding oak or harvesting ripe grape to grant the wine added value. “The style is reached in the vineyard,” he insisted.

Alastair Maling pointed out: “Care should be taken with the amount of oak, alcohol and over ripening. We have tasted many wines with a fruit base spoilt due to the excessive use of oak.”

For his part, Marcelo Retamal, commented: “we have to make wines for buyers rather than consumers, that is to say, for people who buy the wines and put them into the distribution channels. And those oaky and alcoholic wines do not appeal to buyers.”

In addition, Tamburini recommended controlling thoroughly the alcohol level in wines. “As a result of the climate change, too alcoholic wines are produced,” she added.

Terroir and Terroir

The panel of tasters maintained that Argentina should strongly emphasize the regions where Malbec comes from.

“The most important is to make wines displaying features according to the region that yields them,” underlined Andrea Mullineux.

Moreover, Hamilton Russell, added: “we should specify the regions and speak about Malbec by region, what will help consumers.”

Gilles Pauquet emphasized: “we should not copy wines from other countries. We have to respect our terroir, and if our climate changes, we have to change our varietal wines.”

Torrontés, an option

Italian Bárbara Tamburini was impressed by the aromas this grape variety exhibits. “It reminds me positively of Muscat of Alexandria, but I must admit that Torrontés boasts a unique personality, impossible to imitate. Argentina has a promising future with this varietal,” she added.

On his turn, Vittorio Fiore sustained: “I was also really taken with Argentine Torrontés. I found very high-quality expressions.”


Ma. Soledad Gonzalez

Area del Vino. AWA2012 Operator.