Back in the USA

Hi all:

I am back finally in the USA after almost a year in Argentina and Chile. We were fortunate to be able to live at the Elvira Calle Winery in Lujan during this time and it was amazing. My three girls went to school in Mendoza. It was a little hard being that the school years don’t coincide very well, but combined with a little home school and a very long school year that started with the year in Mendoza and continued with September new grade starts here in Oregon, my kids have been very positive about it all.

We had a great ’08 harvest. We made 8000 total cases worth of wine and will produce a range of wines. We brought back Tempranillo, not made since 2002. We made excellent Syrah and of course more, Malbec, Cab/Sauv and Merlot. Also we have some good elements for our ’08 Gran Reserva Ca’ de Calle Red Blend. 2007 is drinking really well by the way and is in stock now. Give it a try!

’08 harvest turned out great, but we were really scared initially as rain threatened early on and we were sure our other producer’s white wines would be affected. Thankfully, everything turned out ok. One important thing that did happen was the very cold nights in late March and April. After the rains in February, the nights got particularly cold. This had an effect of really maintaining natural acids in the grapes and helped deepen color by a very big degree over 2007. This was great as the tartaric acid adds this year in fermentation were almost nothing. ’08 reds will be most notable for their natural acidity, deep color and elegant fruit aromas. Really something to look forward to.

Had a great time catching up with my Argentine producers. Hector and Pablo Durigutti. Adolfo and Carlos Basso, Eduardo and Eduardo Jr. Maccari. Luis and Andrea Barraud, Hugo Martino, Mauricio Parodi, Guillermo Donnerstag and of course the great Carmelo Patti. All are at career highs and loving every minute of it. I also made several trips to Chile and saw everyone there too. Amazing to see how much Chile is modernizing and pushing the quality to new highs. They are becoming so first world it is always like going back to the US or some quasi Latin-European city. Where our Argentine producers are characterized by their folksiness and family orientation, Chile is characterized by sweeping, elaborate estates where, organization, capital and modern, export looking views dominate. It really is nice to be able to work with both countries so intensively. It adds such diversity to what we do!

We were also extremely fortunate to be able to visit Perito Moreno in Patagonia and then Iguazu via a tasting trip to Uruguay, (more about that later). Both were arduous car trips where I was the only driver. Whew! I never drove so many miles in my life! But it was one of the most incredible trips I have ever done. I am certain this family trip will be part of our fondest memories forever.

I few updates on our staff, Jenny has replaced Leah who recently left to travel in South America. I am very sorry to have to tell you that shortly after they arrived in Ecuador, they were brutally attacked. Leah and her boyfriend Britt are OK now, thank god, but they suffered a horrible ordeal. Please visit Leah’s blog for more info. It won’t be up for very much time more. They are in our thoughts and prayers and we wish them strength as they recover. That’s it for now, will write more sometime soon. Thanks for your continued support!


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