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Female judges pick best of Argentina

An all-female international panel selected the winners of the ninth annual Argentina Wine Awards, which took place last week.

Wines of Argentina president Susana Balbo
Wines of Argentina president Susana Balbo, part of this year’s all-female judging panel

The 12 foreign judges included Jancis Robinson MW from the UK, Christie Canterbury MW from the US, Barbara Philip MW from Canada, Essi Avellan MW from Finland, Annette Scarfe MW from Singapore and Cecilia Torres, winemaker for Santa Rita in Chile.

They were joined by six Argentine judges including Laura Catena of Bodega Catena Zapata and Susana Balbo, whose role as president of Wines of Argentina provided part of the inspiration for the 2015 theme of “Female Empowerment”.

Between them the panel awarded a total of 14 trophies, 19 gold medals, 193 silvers and 369 bronzes to the 669 entries from 143 Argentine wineries.

A full list of winners is available to download here, but highlights included four trophies awarded in the Malbec category to Bodega Septima’s Obra Malbec 2012, Bodega Riglos’ Quinto Malbec 2013, Casarena Bodegas & Vineyards’ Jamilla’s Vineyard Malbec and Familia Zuccardi’s Aluvional Vista Flores Malbec 2012.

Cabernet Franc also showed its potential in this country with two trophies in this category, won by Mascota Vineyards’ La Mascota Cabernet Franc 2013 and Salentein’s Numina Cabernet Franc 2012.

As for white wines, the Chardonnay category saw two trophies awarded in the form of Finca La Escondida Reserve Chardonnay 2014 from Bodegas La Rosa and Salentein’s Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2012.

There were also a series of regional trophies to recognise the top wines from Argentina’s four main wine producing areas. The northern valleys prize was won by Bodega El Esteco for its Serie Fincas Notables Tannat 2012; Mendoza valleys went to Finca Decero for its Mini Ediciones Petit Verdot, Remolinos Vineyard 2012; San Juan valleys was won by the Santiago Graffigna 2011; and the Patagonia valleys trophy went to Bodegas Del Fin Del Mundo for its Special Blend 2010.

Welcoming the presence of “the most important women in the wine industry,” Balbo remarked: “Today one can find women in all stages of wine production, such as winemakers, export managers, consumers and especially sommeliers, where the female sense of smell can experience aromas more strongly and in turn find the name that identifies its meaning, more naturally. These female skills have made the AWA 2015 a unique experience.”

The event, hosted this year by Bodegas Trivento, also featured a seminar, which saw several members of the judging panel discuss developments in their respective markets and the perception of Argentine wine there. Each speaker supported their comment by presenting a wine that was particularly suited to their country.

Explaining the value of this seminar, Balbo remarked: “we aim to continue to be informed on how to further position the brand ‘Vino Argentino’ in the world so that it will carry on being synonymous with quality and excellence.”

In conclusion she commented: “The strong tradition of our industry and the joint efforts, along with the professionalism and dedication of each of the participants, is what enables us to continue building a solid strategy that remains over time and guides us, so that Argentine wine will be increasingly recognised worldwide.“

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