By Celia Strong
So here we are, one more holiday on our backs. A couple of days to go, not done shopping, too many parties and late nights, too much to do at work but who cares, blah blah blah. Sometimes it’s a stretch to say “Merry” Christmas or “Happy” Holidays. And, then, as if all that’s not enough, there’s another big one a week after. Yikes! Of course, though, an extra little glass of this or that does tend to help. If that glass is bubbly, even better. And, if you have enough to share with everyone around you, then we all are happy, bubbly, have a nice time together and the holidays are the way they should be. So off to see our bubbly we go!
We are going to Argentina for our glass this week. To Trapiche, which if you haven’t drunk and liked a wine from them yet, it’s really time. Trapiche has been in the wine producing business in Argentina for 125 years. Founded in 1883, they are located in Mendoza, in the foothills of the Andes. They are Argentina’s largest exported brand of premium wines.
The huge array of wines from Trapiche represent the diversity of Argentina itself. Trapiche owns more than 2,500 acres of vineyards and gets more grapes from more than 200 independent growers in the best grape growing areas of the country. In the past years, Trapiche has made investments to enlarge their crushing, fermentation and storage facilities. In November 2008, along with the celebration of their 125th anniversary, Trapiche opened its new winery — a renovated older winery from 1912 located on a ten hectare estate with vineyards and olive trees. This older winery was sold by the founding family in 1970, but was abandoned shortly after that. Trapiche acquired it in 2006. Today, it is the basis for Trapiche’s great production capacity, state-of-the-art technology, and revolutionary design and facilities as they pursue the highest standards in viticulture and wine making.
As Trapiche continues to grow, they are experimenting with biodynamics, the most extreme approach in biological and ecological agricultural practices. They forbid the use of chemicals, herbicides and fungicides, they aim for a balanced ecosystem and they assume that the moon cycles and the position of the other planets influence the vines. Work in their vineyards is planned by taking into account the different moon phases and stellar dynamics.
Many of Trapiche’s 2,500 acres of vineyards are spread throughout the Mendoza region. There are near perfect grape growing conditions there — hot days, cool nights, scant rainfall and tightly controlled irrigation. These conditions also let Trapiche consistently grow and source (buy for others) top quality grapes. The grapes are hand harvested and vinified in their new facility.
Under the direction of Chief Winemaker, Daniel Pi, the wines are made to retain their fresh pure character of fruit and natural ripeness. At the winery, the grapes are de-stemmed and vinified at cool temperatures for a period of 10 to 15 days to extract color, aroma and ripe fruit flavors. To help retain varietal character and freshness, the wines are aged for a short period of time in stainless steel tanks before a light filtration and bottling. The second fermentation is done with the “Charmat Lungo” method in small 50 hectoliter tanks at 14 degrees Celsius. The wine stays in contact with the lees for 120 days before bottling.
Trapiche Extra Brut is made from 70% chardonnay, 20% semillon and 10% malbec. The malbec brings a fuller mouth feel to this wine and adds many layers of complexity to it as well. The wine is fresh, clean and vibrant with apple, pear, melon and citrus flavors.
Over the years, since Trapiche Extra Brut first became available to us, I have used it many times for many occasions — parties, birthdays big and small, Sunday afternoon golf cart rides, Wednesday night “Oh, goodie, I’m off tomorrow” toasts, and any other excuse for a glass I have found. The crispness in it is always refreshing. And, of course, the price is not daunting. At $13.99 a bottle, it really costs less than many bottles I drink without bubbles. And I thought good bubbles cost more. Nope!
And, now the Wizard has come to make this wine even harder to avoid. (Just so you know, someone in Beaufort has called me the Wizard for years.) The Wizard has coupons for you — if you buy three bottles or more of this wine, you get them all for $10.99. So come see the Wizard, get your three or four or however many bottles, share the bubbles and have a great holiday season. Enjoy!