Ricardo Santos Semillon 2013
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The late Ricardo Santos demonstrated a life-long commitment to the Argentine wine tradition, particularly in regard to the country’s great varietal, Malbec. As the former owner of the Norton Winery, Ricardo renounced a career in architecture to pursue his passion for winemaking with the belief that Argentina could produce wines equal to the best in the world. In 1971, he was the first winemaker from Argentina to export Malbec to the U.S. market. Mr. Santos is survived by his wife Estela and his two sons, Patricio and Pedro, who carry on the tradition of excellence in Ricardo Santos winemaking. One son, Patricio, is the winemaker; the other son, Pedro, is the head of marketing.
With vineyards tretching along the eastern side of the Andes Mountains from Patagonia in the south to Salta in the north, Argentina is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic wine producing countries—and most important in South America.
Since the late 20th century vineyard investments, improved winery technology and a commitment to innovation have all contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains is used heavily to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.
Argentina’s famous Mendoza region, responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, with Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley most noteworthy. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white.
The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.
Sémillon has the power to create wines with considerable structure, depth and length that will improve for several decades. It is the perfect partner to the vivdly aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. Sémillon especially shines in the Bordeaux region of Sauternes, which produces some of the world’s greatest sweet wines. Somm Secret—Sémillon was so common in South Africa in the 1820s, covering 93% of the country’s vineyard area, it was simply referred to as Wyndruif, or “wine grape.”