Gabrielli brings the Old World Italian roots of the family behind it to Mendoza, Argentina. Francesco Gabrielli was born in the late 1800’s in the small village of Tresana, in the north of Tuscany. In 1904 he planted his first vineyard, thus paving the way for the tradition of grape growing that would continue for four generations. Today, the small-production winery that bears his name is making high-quality wines that would make him proud. Believing in showcasing the best fruit that Argentina has to offer, the winery makes small lots of each of its wines (3 wines at the Finca Gabrielli level, a sparkling wine and the winery’s top wine, a blend--around 6,000 cases total), and elects to use oak sparingly except on its top wines. Yields are low and much care is taken in the vineyards and in the winery. Surprisingly undiscovered in the United States, this is a winery that is quietly but confidently producing some of Argentina’s best wines.

 

Tresana Sparkling Wine 2008

As with white wines, it is rare to find a world-class sparkling wine from Argentina. The top candidates can usually be counted on one hand, but with the arrival on the scene of Gabrielli’s Tresana, we will now need two. A scant 3,000 bottles were produced of this Methode Champenoise beauty. It’s gorgeous rose color can be accounted for by its blend: 88% Pinot Noir and 12% Chardonnay. The grapes come from 80-year old vines with relatively low yields. The wine then goes through the full Champenoise process and is bottled in the traditional Champagne bottles. The result is a class act through and through. The bead is fine and persistent, and the color is a delicate rosy pink. Its aromas are surprisingly elegant, of melon and barely ripe strawberries. On the palate its fresh acidity balances out its ever-so-slight sweetness, and it has lovely flavors of marmalade and strawberry. A great aperitif, or pairs well with seafood, sushi, pizza and most desserts.

 

Finca Gabrielli Chardonnay 2010

People who say Argentina is not known for its white wines will be pleasantly surprised by this delicate, elegant Chardonnay. Only 10,000 bottles are produced. The grapes come from 15-year old vines in a cooler part of Mendoza. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and then spends 10 months in French and American oak barrels. It is a lovely greenish-yellow color, and gives off typical Chardonnay aromas of green apple and tropical fruits, along with a slight butterscotch touch. On the palate it has similar flavors plus a hint of lemon and melon. It has some creaminess and vanilla, but what makes it stand out is its delightful zippy acidity, making it the perfect match for food, or a pleasant porch-sipper.

 

Finca Gabrielli Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

A true Old World style Cabernet, of which 20,000 bottles were made, this wine comes from grapes from 40-year old vineyards trained in the old-fashioned pergola system. The wine spends 10 months in French and American oak barrels, and then at least 3 months in bottle. It is an intense ruby-red color and has appealing aromas of blackberries, red fruit, and nutmeg, with hints of the oak. On the palate it is round and well-balanced, with notes reminiscent of its Italian background, and a very pleasant finish of chocolate, earthiness and vanilla. Not your typical Cabernet Sauvignon, this one is great with all kinds of food including cheeses and even grilled chicken.

Finca Gabrielli Malbec 2009

Coming from the same 40-year old low-yield vineyards as the Cabernet, the Malbec is the embodiment of what Argentine Malbec can be, with all the body and powerful fruit of wine double its price. Only 25,000 bottles are produced, fermented in stainless steel and then aged in French and American oak barrels for 6 months. Its color is an intense garnet-red, and its aromas are of black fruits and nutmeg, with slight notes of ripe plums and violet. On the palate it manages to be full-bodied and elegant at the same time, with more plums and dried violets, as well as a pleasant meatiness that makes it a great match for grilled meats.

 

Finca Gabrielli Gran Malbec 2006

This is the uncle of the Malbec, from the best part of the same 40-year old vineyard, and aged longer in oak, resulting in a “reserve” level Malbec from the same family. A mere 10,000 bottles were produced, and it underwent the same vinification, but then 80% of the wine was aged for 14 months in French and American oak barrels, subsequently being blended with the un-oaked wine from tank to create the finished product. It has a dancing violet-red color, and intriguing aromas of plum confit, white pepper and nutmeg. From the first sip it draws you in with its soft sweetness, ripe, friendly tannins, and complex flavors of spices and dark fruits. The oak is present enough to round it out and increase its complexity, without covering its elegant Malbec fruit. It also has enough acidity to carry the full body of this fruit. Yet another Argentine winner for when steaks are being grilled.

 

Francesco Gabrielli Blend 2007

This is the winery’s top wine, named in homage to its founding family member from Tresana, Italy. It is a blend of 60% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Merlot, and only 5,000 bottled were made. A hand-selection of clusters is then performed, and the wine is gravity pumped into the tanks to be fermented with selected yeasts. The wine then undergoes pre-fermentative and post-fermentative maceration and malolactic fermentation. Each component is then aged for 12 months in French oak, and then blended with the others to create the final, magical blend. Its color is an impressive red with bluish tones; on the nose it has slight peppery notes dancing throughout its more dominant aromas of ripe cherries and blackberries. It explodes onto the palate with ripe red and dark fruits, some exotic spices, and hints of vanilla and leather from its oak aging. The finish seems to go on forever. This is a wine to be saved in the cellar for a special occasion, even in 10 years, and drunk with game, lamb, or beef—it is an almost perfect food wine.


© 2017 Bottled Poetry Imports, LLC. All rights reserved.