miércoles, 1 de junio de 2011

Tempus Alba Radaelli 2007, Cabernet Sauvignon de Anchoris

Tempus Alba RADAELLI Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, solo 200 botellas de un Cabernet 100% de la zona de Anchoris, Luján de Cuyo a 50 km al sur de la ciudad de Mendoza, a una altura de 1040 msnm.
El terruño de Anchoris tiene la particularidad de presentar amplitudes térmicas y niveles de insolación que provocan una madurez tánica de excelencia. Sumado a estas condiciones naturales del terruño, el gran equilibrio de la viña de Finca La Alborada y los rendimientos limitados de 4.500 kilos por hectárea; hacen que este vino tenga una identidad única, una personalidad imponente y una elegancia notable.
Todas estas características están plasmadas en la etiqueta por nuestro gran amigo Gelson Radaelli, artista y apasionado por los buenos vinos del mundo entero. Criado en barricas de roble francés nuevo durante 18 meses y luego estibado durante un año este vino es solo para exigentes.

Tempus Alba Radaelli Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, apenas 200 garrafas de Cabernet 100% da área Anchoris, Luján de Cuyo 50 km ao sul da cidade de Mendoza, a uma altitude de 1040 metros. O terroir é único Anchoris faixas de temperatura actuais e nos níveis de luz solar causando maturidade tanino de excelência. Além dessas condições naturais do terroir, o grande equilíbrio da vinha Finca La Alborada e limitada produz 4.500 quilos por hectare, fazem deste vinho tem uma identidade única, uma personalidade imponente e notável elegância. Todas estas características se refletem no rótulo Gelson Radaelli nosso bom amigo, artista e apaixonado vinhos de todo o mundo. Envelhecido em carvalho francês novas por 18 meses e depois arrumadas em um ano este vinho é apenas exigente.

Tempus Alba Radaelli Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, only 200 bottles of Cabernet 100% of the area Anchoris, Luján de Cuyo 50 km south of the city of Mendoza at an altitude of 1040 meters. The terroir is unique Anchoris present temperature ranges and levels of sunlight causing tannin maturity of excellence. In addition to these natural conditions of the terroir, the great balance of the vineyard Finca La Alborada and yields limited 4,500 kilos per hectare, make this wine has a unique identity, an imposing personality and remarkable elegance. All these features are reflected in the label Gelson Radaelli our good friend, artist and passionate about fine wines from around the world. Aged in new French oak for 18 months and then stowed in a year this wine is only demanding.

jueves, 10 de marzo de 2011

Extreme Wine: A Certain Idea of Malbec by Mike Veseth

One of my goals in coming to Mendoza was to add to my collection of Extreme Wine stories (yes, I’m working on another book). I was thinking that the story would be the Great Malbec Boom, one of the most extreme regional wine surges in recent years.
The Malbec boom may still make my extreme wine list, but a fellow wine economist suggested a different entry: Tempus Alba's ambitious project to create an extreme wine, one that uniquely captures the essence of Malbec. Here’s the story of Vero Malbec.
One Hundred Years of Winegrowing
The Biondolillo family has been in the winegrowing business in Mendoza for more than 100 years. This means that they have lived through booms and crises, both in the wine industry and in the Argentinean economy more generally. Aldo Biondolillo, who holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota, is the third generation to make a living this way. His sons Leo and Mariano are in the family business, too, and there is a very young fifth generation in the wings (if you look closely you can see their fingerprints on the wine label in the video above). Theirs is the kind of business that necessarily looks to the long run.
When Aldo began the Tempus Alba project in the 1990’s he was looking for a way for his family to continue the winegrowing tradition well into the future. He knew that they couldn’t live on grape sales alone and becoming a bulk wine producer would be a dead end road. Commodity pricing -- of grapes or bulk wine -- often puts an emphasis on cost more than quality – and there is always some one who will charge less. Economic theory teaches that product differentiation is key to escaping the commodity trap. But how?
Aldo’s project is ambitious: to create not just another good Malbec, but a different idea of Malbec.
His method is to isolate the purest or perhaps just the best Malbec vines in the region from among the many different clones that have been planted here over the years. The goal is to identify the truest clones and, in the long run, to make them available to other wineries who could join a circle of producers making unique wines – unique in terms of the particular grape clones and then unique once again as expressions of their respective terroir.
In Malbec Veritas?

And so Aldo and family began, planting 800 different Malbec cuttings in the Mother Block. The 800 vines were narrowed in stages to 589 vines and then finally 20 by teams of experts. After 10 years of hard work, the project's first commercial Malbec was made in 2007.
It is called Vero Malbec (vero is Italian for truth, although the letters are also the initials of Aldo’s grandchildren). The Biondolillo do not claim that it is the original Malbec brought over from France or The One True Malbec. It is their version of the truth, seen from their family's particular 100 year perspective.
Everyone knows that I don’t rate wines or give tasting notes, but I found the Biondolillo’s version of the truth very appealing (as have a number of wine critics). It will be interesting to see how this wine develops over several vintages. It will be even more interesting if Aldo’s dream of a winemaking circle evolves, so that a group of Mendoza winemakers adopt the Tempus Alba clones and produce their own unique wines, perhaps along the lines of the Coro Mendocino project that I wrote about a while back. (Hmmm ... they could call it Vero Mendocino!)
Our visit to Tempus Alba’s beautiful winery in Maipu was informative in several respects. First, It was interesting to see a project that is at once so scientifically ambitious (the labs and the clones) and, through the winemakers’ circle idea, so socially progressive. Although there is a lot of plant science employed here, however, the work to narrow down the cuttings was done using nose and palate, not by sequencing grape DNA.
I accused Leo of being an empiricist in his search for true Malbec and someone in the group said, “Well of course ... he’s an economist.” Leo and I reacted in the same instant, “No, no, no!” we said in unison, shaking our fingers. We know that most economists are more comfortable with theories that with facts. (It is an old saying in economics, for example, that a theory cannot be refuted by facts – only by a more appealing theory will do the job). Wine theories are well and good, but it's what's in the bottle that really counts.
Stop and Think
I was also fascinated by the visitors to Tempus Alba. The other wineries we visited in Mendoza were fairly remote and sometimes difficult to find; most had guarded gates meant to restrict entry to those with pre-arranged tours. Tempus Alba's winery is in the Maipu valley, an area with lots of wineries and a good many backpacker hostels. The courtyard was filled with the rental bikes of the 20-somethings who travel from winery to winery as long as they can manage to stay upright. The action in the restaurant and on the deck overlooking the vineyard was young, lively and fun.
I’m not sure the 100+ per day biking visitors (a big wine tourist number by Mendoza standards) buy much wine, but they appear to have a great wine experience – almost a unique one it seems to me. The self-guided tour shows them the winery, teaches some viticultural science, and even exposes them to the family’s “dogma” or guiding principles. Then it is up to the sunny deck to taste the wines and have a bite to eat. Many will be untouched and just enjoy the good wine, food and company, but some will stop and think, and that seems to be the idea behind Tempus Alba's whole approach.
Is Tempus Alba’s Vero Malbec really unique? I won’t judge the wine, but certainly the idea is completely different and a potentially important addition to the rich mosaic of Mendoza wine.

martes, 8 de febrero de 2011

My Dream...

The first time I have ever visited Tempus Alba I thought: this is how my dream winery should be, if I ever could get to own one: it was (is) in the right place, with the proper surrounding and the best human approach.
And, of course, wines were a result of all of it. I clearly remember being in their terrace exposing my unreachable project of exporting wines of wineries from Argentina to some contacts around the world I had thanks to my living and travelling for some years as market manager of a German company, living in Italy and Spain, and enjoying visiting countries for both business and pleasure in different continents. Looking back at it, I was just explaining to them what I would like to do, without the minimum evidence of what I was able to do. They listened to me.

After some more time than a couple of years from that visit, I do make business with Tempus Alba people. We have a tight relationship that besides of making me admiring them as group, as a family team, makes me understand a secret: making a good wine has lots of topics, such as master-managing the vineyards, carefully selecting grapes, elaborating wines in every step with passion and consciousness, and protecting their image in the aggressive overpopulated markets around the world. Making an excellent, personality driven wine is all of them with the addition of excellent people. That is Tempus Alba.
Nowadays I change my dream of having some day a winery like Tempus Alba for the reality of knowing them and being a tiny, small part of their world.
(Written by Matias Gerino and a Tempus Merlot 2005)

miércoles, 27 de enero de 2010

The Zenith of Summer

We are officially in the middle of summer!! The heat is here and here to stay for the next few months. Mendoza’s summer sizzle has summoned all the wine seekers in need of sun from all parts of the world, and at the end of a busy day, Tempus Alba feels like the apex of this wine drenched pull. Crowds of happy yet sweaty bike tourists are rolling into Tempus Alba in a daily frenzy. The Patio is as predicted, hopping!
We have geared up for the busy season with some fun new additions. The launch of the sun faring pergola has made the Patio at Tempus Alba the place to be on a hot and sunny afternoon. Bottles of Malbec Rose refresh our thirsty guests underneath its lovely shade. Yummy dishes are flying out of the kitchen, with such momentum, that we have happily added two more talented staff members to our kitchen team. My lovely sister has also come down from beautiful, however, rainy Vancouver BC, to spend some time soaking up the rays on the terrace. I’m not sure which she is enjoying more, soaking up the free flowing wine or the endless heat.

Some great changes to the menus have been made. Guests can now taste our top wines with the addition of the premium flight to our wine list, featuring the 2006 Pleno, the 2003 wine maker’s reserve and the Tempus Vero. Check out the specs on these fantastic wines, all of which are truly treasures worth hunting for. The fresh fruit and wine popsicles have taken on a new summer identity. Spring’s Malbec Rose and strawberry has been replaced with fresh peach and Syrah. I love the presentation of these icy desserts so much, that I had to share this photo with you, and yes, the stick is a shoot from our vines. I mean how cute is that?

The vines are now heavy with ripening fruit turning shades of the vintage to come. The next few months are going to be a flurry of activity. With the shadow of this year’s harvest just around the corner, there are lots of things to keep your eyes peeled and your ears tuned for, here at Tempus Alba. For instance, soon our wines will be labeled under the name TEMPUSALBA all one word in the US market, shedding the current name PRELUDIO.

Until next post…..Besos from Team Tempus

lunes, 19 de octubre de 2009

Ode to the Wine Geek

So, this post is for all the wine geeks out there, and since I could be considered a wine geek, I am super excited to share our snazzy Malbec Cloning Program with you.

The Malbec vine is a strange beast, that has a tendency to mutate quickly, and up until now nobody has attempted the painstakingly tedious process of studying all the different mutant Malbecs out there, so Malbec as a vine is kind of all over the place. The Malbec vine is such a mess that it is often mistaken for other grape varietals, especially Bonarda.

So, we started this project, seven years ago, to try and set the Malbec vine straight once and for all. Here at Team Tempus our goal is to not only to isolate the DNA of the Malbec vine, but to isolate the DNA of the best Malbec clones we can find. This means no more mutant Malbec and no more Malbec that is actually Bonarda.

We started by sourcing over 500 different ¨Malbec¨ plants from different regions of Mendoza. We planted 2 separate 2.6 ha plots with the mash of Medocino Malbecs.

After four years of patiently waiting for the vines to be mature enough to produce “studyable” fruit we started doing Agronomic analysis on the vines. So, what the hell does that mean. Well, it means this.....
1.) An Agronomist is an expert in agriculture.
2.) Analysis is the process of breaking down a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it.

The smaller parts are the following:
1.) Vigor: how much green matter does the vine produce and at what rate does it grow
2.) Production: how many bunches of fruit does the vine produce
3.) The actual size of the individual berry
4.) Spacing of the fruit on the vine

So, at first I thought we would want lots of all the above listed. A vine with lots vigor, that sounds good. How many bunches do we want, well I would guess a lot. Size of berry, big I imagine. However I was quickly corrected and for these reasons.

A vine with too much vigor or an overly thick shoot (the thickness of your thumb for example) produces a green tasting fruit, resulting in a green tasting wine. Yucky! The ideal amount of vigor is rated as medium, and the ideal thickness of the shoot is about the with of a pencil.

The ideal amount of ¨production¨ or amount of fruit per plant is rated as low. All the vines good stuff like: sugar, tannins and acids get distributed among all the plants fruit. An overly productive vine, or a vine with too many bunches produces a less concentrated fruit. Less concentrated fruit means less concentrated wine. No good!

The same basic rule goes for berry size, the bigger the berry the bigger amount of water per berry. We are looking for good concentrated fruit to make good concentrated wines.

The last analysis ¨spacing of fruit on the vine¨ is the most important of all. Why? Well, it goes as follows: when the vine is feeding its fruit it isn’t always fair. For example, sugar gets distributed to the plants fruit evenly regardless of location on the vine. Tannins however aren’t distributed with such unconditional love. The further away from the vines trunk the less tannins the fruit is going to receive. Might not seem fair but apparently tannins aren’t mobile. So, a vine with nice evenly spaced fruit will ensure a nice even balance among the bunches.
So, after all this analyzing we chose the 20 best Malbecs from the original 500 plants and the saga continues year after year with the same tests. The most exciting thing about this project so far is that we have produced our fist vintage with grapes from the experimental vines. It is called ¨Vero¨ which means ¨True¨ and cleverly is an acronym for the three grand children of the Biondolillo family at the same time. There were only 10, 000 bottles made and if you ever get to try this wine you will find that the name speaks for its self.

martes, 29 de septiembre de 2009


Everyday, like most people I know, I jump into my car and drive to work. However, unlike most people I know, my morning drive leaves me feeling incredibly fortunate, and with summer just around the corner even more so. A huge blue sky against the snowy mountains greet me as I zip down the high way past row after row of hypnotizing vineyards. Silvery olive trees break my trance as they sway in the breeze. With my radio to keep me company I smile most Monday mornings. This morning I was feeling so lucky that I felt bad not sharing.

After my stretch of high way driving I turn down Urquiza street or what I like to call the ¨tree tunnel¨. It’s the part of my daily fairytale where I discover a magical new world full of vineyards and olive groves. The land where wineries and restaurants are around every bend, where I can smell olive oil wafting through the air, where the snow capped Andes leave me awe stricken with their beauty. This is my new world.

I arrive at the winery where I unpack all the fresh goodies I have brought, and Fernando and I create tasty dishes to share with people from all over the world. I break bread and drink wine with happy vacationers. I listen to their stories and they listen to mine.

Every time I take a sip at the winery I can see all the faces that made this fabulous drink come to life, something truly amazing I am able to share with the folks that come to visit us. I mean, how many bottles of wine have you drank and wondered how this amazing beverage got into your hands, or the opposite, how many times have you drank a bottle of wine without even taking note of more than red or white?

Tempus Alba is a smallish winery, producing about 200,000 liters per year, and is a family owned and operated affair, well excluding me and a few others, but we are such a tight team that in this case blood is almost as thick as water...well wine I guess. Cousins, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters for over three generations fill every bottle here at Tempus Alba, and every time somebody comes to visit us they get to be part of the family too, and that makes me feel like a lucky girl.

After all this gushing I have worked up a pretty good appetite so, I’m going to find myself a quite corner on the patio to reflect, enjoy this tasty pizza and a glass of Malbec Rose.

miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2009

Where are all the grapes?

Well yesterday was the first day of spring, and I can tell you that the grapes are on their way. With a whisper of the summer heat to come the vines have woken up from their winter nap. Fuzzy baby buds have popped up all over the 3 hectares of experimental Malbec vines, and in a few days these buds will unravel into bright green foliage. It is truly amazing how fast the vines spring to life.
Summer in Mendoza is long and wonderful and I can feel a great season brewing. The Winebar is ready and with the new edition of Patio Tempus (our new restaurant) the terrace is going rock this year. Cool house tracks vibrate melodically and glasses filled with shades of bright pinks to deep purples catch the summer sun. Lamb burgers filled with fresh herbs, dripping with mint tzatziki are served to hungry bike riders, and tangy falafel burgers washed down by a glass of spicy syrah assure me that there are some really good times to be had here at Tempus Alba.

Not sure where to get our wines, go here and you will be able to check if Tempus Alba wines are available in your city.

Try these awesome lamb burgers at home, and if you can get your hands on a bottle of Tempus Pleno you are really in for an awesome surprise.

Patio Tempus Lamb Burger

21/2 kilos of ground lamb
4 Italian sausages
about 1 cup of fresh mint leaves (finely chopped)
about 1 cup of fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium onions grated
3 cloves of garlic grated

try not to over work the ground meat when mixing and forming these patties to avoid an overly dense patty.top with mint tzatziki, sun dried tomatoes and arugula… we make our own bun but any good quality bun will do.