Proemio Wines: Argentina Beyond Malbec

I am a compulsive student. Learning is something I will never tire of not just because I want to gain knowledge about everything that interests me, but also because I am a “studier of people”. Philosophy was my field of choice in college. It is my starting point in some ways. Philosophy gives me the ability to ask how we as a people, a culture, a society, a political community, a human community react to one another and our environment.  In my every day life though, I want to know more about who you are, what you do, and where you come from. One of the great pleasure of being a writer is being given the opportunity to get to know a variety of people in different fields. I have had the opportunity to speak with chefs about what they are doing now and how they got there.  I have had the opportunity to visit farms from the one like my CSA to completely hydroponic lettuce farms and get to know the people behind these visions.  Most recently, I had the pleasure of being invited to meet and dine with wine maker Marcel Bocardo of Proemio Wines a taste of Argentina in Boston’s North End at Prezza.

A few things that really resonated with me about Mr. Bocardo was his perspective on this winery and his work with his wines.  Proemio, the name itself means preface and that is what this winery is.  It is the preface to a greater story that the Bocardo family is writing.  Marcel Bocardo recognizes that some wineries are centuries in existence and that this is just the beginning for Proemio Wines.

I know food very well and can plan a good menu, cook a decent meal, and source good ingredients. When it comes to wine, I am learning a bit more each year from the early years of buying wine for college dinner parties to choosing wines for our wedding, and now hosting holidays for the family at our house. I know what I like. I also know basically what pairs well with different foods, but as for regions and varieties of grapes and less common types of wines, I am still learning. In fact we are all still learning because there are new wines from new wine makers and regions making award winning bottles every year.  Mr. Bocardo said, “Wine makers once wore lab coats, but now they are more than scientists they are chefs.”  Winemakers can not and do manipulate the process some do so naturally and others with additives.  What Bocardo is referring to more than that, is the blending of wines to create wonderful new wines. The grapes can be blended at various points in the process and not just as finished products.  So, in reality the opportunities to create new and interesting wines are endless.

Proemio's Antonella was made for his daughter's birthday celebration.
This wine was made for Mr. Bacardo’s daughter’s 15th birthday celebration. I wonder what is in the wine cellar for future celebrations.

Like food, you can often taste the intent and the heart and soul of the maker in the final product. From how they treat their product to how the vineyard is run, becomes something you can almost taste.  At lunch, we talked about how wine makers wore lab coats and it was more about the chemistry of the wine making.  Now the winemaker still has that lab coat, but they are also working like chefs with blending and layering flavours to create new wines and blends.

Throughout the lunch, we tasted several wines some white and most red at a range of different price points. There were two that stood out especially for me but I would buy all of them. Not a single wine left me wanting something more or something different.

Proemio’s Chardonnay (2017) had a nice clean taste that was neither sweet nor dry.  It had a nice fresh minerality to it.  It is a 100% Chardonnay that is partially aged in French oak barrels and is unfined.  I am definitely adding this one to my summer wine cellar.  It’s an easy white for cocktail hour and some small bites or a great one to have on hand for a light dinner with fish or grilled vegetables.

Proemio’s 50/50 Syrah Garnacha (2015) was one of my favourites. The Syrah and Garnacha are co-fermented and then aged for 12 months in a French oak barrels.  The blend is unfined and unfiltered.

For a special occasion, I would bring out Proemio’s Icon Barrel Selection (2011) it is 55% Malbec -35% Cabernet Sauvignong and 10% Petit Verdot.

To learn more about all the wines, check out these reviews from the pros at Wine Magazine.

Proemio Tidbits To Know

  • The vineyard is manually harvested with manual selection of bunches and fruit.
  • Proemio’s wines have undergone an organic conversion since the 2017 vintage.
  • The vines are irrigated with melted snow from the Andes Mountains
  • The vineyard is over 100 years old un-grafted rootstock
  • There are three vineyards each in the most recognized wine regions in Mendoza.  The vineyards range from 10 -100 year old vines. You can taste the terroir from each of the different vineyards in the wines the Proemio produces.
  • Marcelo Bocardo is a descendent of Italian immigrants that settled in Mendoza in 1910 and is a third generation winemaker.
Proemio wine, olives and bread.
Proemio wines are complex without being fussy.

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