Christie Kiley on August 31, 2015 1 Comment By now most of us are familiar with the Mendoza wine region of Argentina. I sure have given a number of wine reviews of various wines from this region. What was once an emerging region about a decade ago, is now a full-fledged wine region with worldwide acclaim and recognition, including more than a few quality wines and renowned wineries. The Tilia Malbec 2013 of Bodegas Esmeralda is one worth talking about. The Story of Bodegas Esmeralda Bodegas Esmeralda of Junin, Mendoza is a winery with a history and generations of a family passionate about the region where they laid down vineyards and began cultivating tradition. It all began about three generations ago, when Don Juan Fernandez named the winery after his daughter, Esmeralda Fernandez, the only girl amongst four brothers. Bodegas Esmeralda is one of the oldest wineries in the region of Junin and it also happens to be one of the more prominent wineries in the export side of the industry. Today, it has won iconic status for its state-of-the-art winery and modern equipment. Tradition, passion, the equipment and the people that are involved have made Bodegas Esmeralda one of the most prestigious wineries of the region. The Vineyards and Philosophy of Tilia Wines The Tilia label is one of five other labels from Bodegas Esmeralda and is one which is exported outside of Argentina for your enjoyment. Another perk of this notable wine is the ideal cost, running around $12. The vineyards where Tilia grapes are grown are found in the Eastern and Southern regions of Mendoza. Each of these regions are very unique in climate and have the ability to create fruit which, when combined from both regions, can produce a wine that is perfectly balanced and that demonstrates the iconic Mendocino wine taste. In the Eastern region, southeast of the city of Mendoza, the vineyards sit between about 2,000 to 2,200 feet above sea level. This is where Junin lies and is where viticulture began in Mendoza. This is the high desert–a region that receives under ten inches of rain per year. Thanks to irrigation supported by snow runoff from the Andes mountains that fills up the neighboring Tunuyan River, they are able to manage the vines to cultivate only the best fruit. Each spring, the irrigation ditches are furrowed so that water can be pumped from the Tunuyan river via drip irrigation into the vineyards. Thanks to the dry climate, there are no pests, so they have no reason to use pesticides. The vineyards here are completely sustainable and organic. With the climate and unique elevation for the area, the grapes mature with rich fruit aromas and flavors with characteristics that are key for filling out the depth of a wine. To the south of Mendoza are their other vineyards sitting at 3,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level. This has been noted to be the top region to cultivate wine grapes in all of Mendoza. Because of the much higher elevation, there is a shift in climate. Cooler temperatures during the day and night allow for the maturity and depth of aromas to develop as the fruit matures. In addition, the lower temperatures allow the grapes to maintain a higher level of acidity, keeping nuances of fruit and other characteristics fresh. The vineyards here are irrigated in the same ways as the Eastern region: via the Tunuyan. Because the climate here is also dry, there is no need for the use of pesticides and all or their fruit is farmed naturally and sustainably. The vineyard team at Bodegas Esmeralda all live within close proximity of the vineyards and take a very personal approach in how they care for their vines and their resources. Because water is scarce in Mendoza, irrigation is closely controlled by pumps and timers so that only the necessary amount of water is used. Water is equally respected in the winery and all their waste water is used for irrigation. As for their vineyard sustainability, the team for Tilia wines know the importance of preserving their soils. They work closely with the Organic & Biological Chemistry Department at the National University of Cuyo, creating a program to maintain not only their philosophy, but their manner of cultivation for the next generations. The Tilia Malbec Tilia comes from the Latin name Linden. It is the name of a tree which is found throughout the entire region of Mendoza with flowers that are popular for the locals to use in tea. This wine is made with 100% Malbec and fermented for up to two weeks in stainless steel and later aged for six months in a mix of French and American oak. For those of you who have had and enjoy the “big” side of Malbec yet still desire fresher and more layers of fruit, know that this wine is much more well-rounded. The alcohol is a quite balanced at 13.5%, which leaves a perfect amount of acidity that keeps the fruit fresh with layers of raspberry, blackberry, red currant and lovely notes of vanilla sugar, cinnamon toast and more. Pair this with some of your favorite comfort foods this upcoming season.