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Here’s my selection of three of the young guns of Mendoza producing their own boutique wine brands:
Manuel Michelini, 23
Manuel (or Manu for short) Michelini broke onto the winemaking scene while he was still at college, although ever since he was a young teenager he remembers choosing to clean tanks in the family winery over playing football with his mates.
He launched his first wine, Plop, at the tender age of 19 with a bright and crunchy rosé made from Cabernet Franc along with a Malbec-Cabernet Franc red blend, both of which were sold out just months after their release. When you look at his family pedigree though, it’s no surprise that winemaking came to Manu at a young age. Manuel is the son of one of Argentina’s leading female winemakers, Andrea Mufatto, and business manager-turned-vigneron Gerardo Michelini; and his Uncles are renowned Mendocinean winemakers Matias Michelini (Passionate Wine) and Juan Pablo Michelini (Zorzal).
Although Manu only just graduated as a winemaker from University earlier this year, he is already responsible (along with his mother and father) for the award-winning boutique production of Michelini i Mufatto — a growing portfolio of wines from the Uco Valley in Argentina and Bierzo in Spain.
Norberto Páez, 34
When Norberto graduated winemaking in 2009 he headed to New Zealand to learn the ropes in wineries there, before working on the cellar floor in some well-known wineries in Mendoza. Today he consults to other small wineries around Argentina and has his own brand Paso a Paso wines with his friend Sebastián Bisole.
In 2008, while still at University, he and Sebastián started making their own garage wines under the Paso a Paso name, and later in 2015 they launched their first commercial vintage onto the local market. Today Paso a Paso has half a dozen different labels which includes innovative wines such as a white Criolla blend from Eastern Mendoza and their cool climate Bonarda from 70-year-old vines in El Cepillo in the Uco Valley.
Leandro Boullaude, 24
A self-taught winemaker, Leandro actually studied tourism at university but started making wines in 2016 under his own label, Bocanada. His first releases, at the age of 21, were under the guidance of the Michelini family (see above) making Malbec and a red blend from Gualtallary in the Uco Valley.
Since then he has been making wines with his father’s label, Vinilo, where he’s been responsible for making the Social Club labels of Semillon and Malbec. During his short but energetic career Leandro has also been making wine in Passionate Wine with Matias Michelini and spending the Argentine winters in Spain where he’s been working with Luna Beberide in Bierzo. Today Leandro’s growing portfolio of Bocanada wines are being exported to the US, China and Taiwan.
By Amanda Barnes