You heard it through the grapevine…

We have a couple of wine aficionados in Santex – Mariano Brolio and Maxi Sbrocca! This month, we asked them to tell us a bit more about their particular taste for the subject.

When did you first discover your love for wine?

Mariano Brolio: About when I turned 22. That’s when I started noticing different varietals (wine made by different types of grapes) and observing what I liked about each one.

Maxi Sbrocca: I think I’ve liked wine ever since I was a kid in high school — probably around 16 or 17 years old. Basically it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. What’s changed over time is the quality of wine that I like!

How would you describe your expertise? Have you ever taken formal classes?

MB: I don’t really consider myself to be an expert. It’s just that over the years I’ve learned which wines I like and which ones I don’t. I never took any lessons or classes, but I have gone to different degustations and events where they teach you what kind of food pairs well with each variety of wine, but these were always in relaxed and informal settings.

MS: I believe that the world of wine is one of great dimensions. Truthfully, I consider myself to be a novice when it comes to wine. I like it a lot, I enjoy it even more, but I’m a long ways from being a person who can provide recommendations about wine. I simply like talking about the wines that I like. I’ve never taken any classes, but I wouldn’t be opposed to doing so at some point.

Which Argentinian wine would you recommend to a friend traveling from abroad?

MB: It depends on what he/she is looking for. The top selections from the most well known bodegas are all really good. One wine that I always recommend is Altura Máxima. It comes from a finca, or ranch-like estate, in the Calchaquíes Valley at almost 10,000ft above sea level and is one of the best wines I have ever tasted. It’s produced onlyin relatively small batches, so I can never find a place to get it outside of Salta. If you can’t try that one, then the collection Fincas Notables from the bodega El Esteco are also really good.

If you haven’t noticed, I almost always recommend wine from the Salta region. They tend to be my favorite.

MS: As I said with the previous question, Ithink I’m a beginner when it comes to being able to recommend kinds of wine. But if I had to recommend one to someone, it would undoubtedly be a Malbec. Ruttini and Catena Zapata are good premium brands.

Have you tried wine from other places around the world? Which regions do you prefer?

MB: I’ve tried wine from Chile, Australia, and the U.S. I didn’t really care for any of them very much – I’ve tried much better ones in Argentina. I’ve also tried a reserve wine from Spain that a friend brought over from a trip. It was pretty good, but again, you can find similar Argentinian wines that are similar or better. Maybe my palate it just used to Argentinian wine haha.

MS: I’ve tried wine from the U.S. and to tell the truth, they weren’t very good. At least the ones that I tried weren’t. I’ve also tried Australian wine which was equally bad. Obviously with the wine we produce locally in Argentina, we have very high standards. There is a really good wine from Chile that’s a variety called Carmenere. They say that it’s the only place where that particular vine can be grown. It’s really tasty.

Is wine just a hobby for you, or do you see it turning into something else in the future?

MB: Yea, for me it’s just a hobby. A few years ago, a friend and I wanted to start our own business. Some boutique bodegas began to send us their products to sell them online and to family, but for the sake of time, we couldn’t keep up with it.

MS: Today, it’s just a hobby. As a consumer it’s something I enjoy, but I wouldn’t throw out the idea of it becoming something more in the future.

What is your favorite way to enjoy a glass of wine?

MB: There are two moments that I always enjoy most with wine:
– At an asado with friends, enjoying different bottles
– Once the day is over and I can relax and drink a glass, maybe with some nice cheese or pasta.

MS: I think the best way to enjoy a glass of wine is at a great asado surrounded by friends and family. I view wine as a means, not an end. It’s something that brings friendships together even more. This doesn’t, however, exclude those special occasions when you can enjoy an excellent glass of wine alone.