In a country dominated by male winemakers, Susana Balbo stands out not only for her gender, but for her incredible skill and experience. She has been making wine since she earned her enology degree in 1981, and she has probably produced a wider variety of wines than any other winemaker in Argentina. Susana was the first Argentine winemaker to be hired as a consultant to make wine outside of Argentina. She has made wine in Australia, California, Chile, France, Italy, South Africa, and Spain, and she spends a month each year in a different wine region of the world studying with local winemakers and growers.
After 25 plus years of winemaking, Susana Balbo has a strong sense of what she wants from her wines. From every harvest, she creates the grandest possible wines under her Susana Balbo label. To achieve this, she makes a rigorous selection of the finest barrels prior to making her final blends, dividing them into the parents (reserve level wines) and offspring or "crios." Wines under her Crios label display ripe fruit flavors, excellent balance and concentration, and are meant to be enjoyed in their vibrant youth. They are also an incredibly good value. The label features a series of three connected and overlapping hands, an image that represents Susana and her children, José and Ana.
2013 Crios Torrontes, $14.99
This is the most distinctive of Argentine wines, produced only in that country. It offers enticing aromas that are strikingly similar to Viognier, with hints of white pear, white flowers and citrus. On the palate, it has beautiful structure and acidity along with supple fruit flavors that keep you coming back for another sip. Plenty of body for a wine that shows such delicate aromas and flavors. Fruity, floral and yet still quite dry. Best enjoyed in its youth either by itself, or paired with smoked meats, mild to medium-strong cheeses and seafood (especially crab). It’s also a delicious wine to pair with Asian food and sushi, and a surprising partner with goat cheese.
2013 Crios Malbec, $14.99
This wine has a beautiful reddish-purple color, as most good Malbecs do. The aromas are a mix of freshly crushed black cherries, subtle coffee and just enough toasty oak and vanilla notes to frame the exuberant fruit. On the palate, the flavors of cherry and spice are obvious, and the jammy fruit quality just keeps coming on, with hints of spice and sandalwood lurking in the background. This is a wine that you’ll want to buy by the case because it can be consumed at almost any occasion, whether at a fancy dinner party, or just curled up on the couch watching a movie. Goes great with roast beef or barbecue.
2013 Crios Tannat, $14.99
Opens with aromas of mature red fruits, plum, and spicy notes with a touch of eucalyptus. This is both elegant and intense with a sweet and balanced finish. Try with red meats, strong cheeses, and spiced pastas.
Susana's Signature wines are the ultimate expression of her skill and artistry. Top barrel selections from her overall production are complex and powerful, yet with an elegance and finesse that only Susana can achieve quite so perfectly. Susana strives for balance in her wines, with layers of complexity coming from the individually fermented varieties. She wants people who drink her wines to feel that every sip from the glass is as exciting as the first.
2013 Susana Balbo Torrontes, $20.00
Opens with floral aromas intertwined with enchanting exotic fruit characteristics, including a twist of lime and notes of wild honey and fresh vanilla pod. Sublime yet refined in the mouth, the finish is elegant, long, and finely balanced. “This is a really high-level Torrontes, well worth the price." 93 points—Wine Advocate
2012 Susana Balbo Malbec, $25.00
Beautiful deep violet color with exploding aromas of blackberry, black cherry and blueberries framed by hints of spices and mint. The wonderful aromas are mirrored in the mouth where they are joined by ripe plum fruit, notes of toasty vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and a hint of mint on the finish. This is a ripe and rich style of wine with a long velvety finish. Pairs well with a wide range of foods from beef and pork to game birds or even meat-based pastas.
2012 Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon, $25.00
The perfumed cassis, currant and plum, along with hints of pepper, roasted coffee beans, tobacco and a touch of fresh mint are classic Cabernet aromas. The complex aromas are echoed on the palate with layers of fruit and spice that keep coming on. Ripe on the entry with round tannins, this full bodied wine shows a lively and harmonious acidity that leads to a fresh and pure finish. Pairs well with a wide range of foods from beef and pork to lamb, quail and other game birds, and cream-based sauces. Definitely a cellar candidate, so by a few extra bottles.