If Susana Balbo's name is on your wine, you are in for a treat. After 22 years of winemaking experience, Susana Balbo has become one of Argentina's most acclaimed winemakers, standing out in a field dominated by men.
Fortunately you can sample her wine without breaking the bank. Balbo's value-priced wine label, Crios, offers fruit-forward enjoyment along with surprising complexity.
"Crios" means "offspring," an appropriate moniker for wines that are meant to be enjoyed in their youth.
Crios Rose of Malbec 2007 ($11) is bursting with ripe strawberry aromas and flavors. This dry rose has a lot of body and a clean crisp finish. It pairs beautifully with Mexican and Asian fare.
Another winner is Crios Torrontes 2007 ($16). Torrontes, the most widely planted white wine grape in Argentina, is reminiscent of viognier.
The 2007 Crios version is excellent, with layers of peach, pear and citrus flavors, and a beguiling floral quality. The ripe fruit flavors imply sweetness, but the finish is dry and refreshing. This versatile summer sipper is at home by the pool, alongside a cheese plate, or accompanying salads and seafood.
Susana Balbo also bottles reserve-level wines under her own name. My current favorite is Susana Balbo Malbec 2006 ($29). This deep purple wine has blackberry aromas, smooth black cherry and plum flavors, and hints of chocolate. The distinctive flavors of malbec, Argentina's signature red grape, are bolstered by 10 percent cabernet sauvignon. Enjoy this dense and aromatic wine with beef or wild game.
Vianei Robinson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Wednesdays.