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Q&A with Finca Flichman's Winemaker Gérman Berra

Q&A with Finca Flichman's Winemaker Gérman Berra

Is there a growing trend for blended wines from Mendoza?

I think there is. Blending Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and a bit of Malbec was the “Argentine style” before the Malbec Revolution in the ´90s, the only difference now is that there are other varieties readily available for blending like Petit Verdot or Cabernet Franc that are very attractive and make delicious wines.

Do you prefer making blends or single varietal wines?

Each type of wine has its own character, and it is good to have both in our portfolio. Personally, I enjoy making blends much more, even using the same variety from different origins. In the end, you can use the best of each and take it to the upper level. Normally blends are better than their separate components…that’s team work in action!

Do you ferment and age parcels separately before blending?

Yes, I make each of the ‘components’ separately, respecting their ability to demonstrate their different varieties, origins, soils and winemaking techniques. Then, I use them like a painter does with a palette of colours.

What are the main characteristics of a Malbec from your estate vineyard in Barrancas, Southern Maipú, compared with a Malbec from your vineyard in Tupungato in the Uco Valley?

Due to the warm climate and the loam-clay soils, our Malbec from Barrancas gives riper, full-bodied and structured wines with plum, cherry and blackberry notes on the palate. The colder weather of Tupungato, combined with limestone and rocky soils, produce fresh, mineral and rounded wines, with good natural acidity and violet, raspberry and minty flavours.

Do you source grapes from other regions in Mendoza, and what do they bring to the wines?

Yes, but mainly from our neighbouring regions. Near Barrancas, we source old vine Malbecs from Vistalba (Upper Mendoza River) that give more complexity. From the Uco Valley, we have long-term relationships with growers from Gualtallary (10 miles north from our vineyard) and from Altamira (50 km southbound), the fruit is selected for their concentration and rich tannins…more colours for painting!

Why does Malbec go so well with steak?

I think that the uniqueness of Malbec comes from its combination of velvety tannins, attractive fruitiness and typically long finish. It leaves space in the mouth for the smokiness and the fatty texture of steak. A fantastic dish is cooking steak with a Malbec reduction!

Easy Red Wine Reduction

1 tbsp butter
1 shallot, diced
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup Malbec wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Rosemary or thyme, a few sprigs

In the same pan the steak was cooked in, add butter until it just foams. Add chopped shallots and cook until translucent. Add flour and stir for 3 minutes. Add Malbec, vinegar and rosemary and reduce by half (5-8 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.