South American Harvest Notes 2010

Hi all,
I am just back from 3 months in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. I wanted to update everyone and give you my impression on South America’s harvest, which just finished.

Vineyards around Ensenada, Mexico got record rainfall this winter. Somewhere close to 27 inches! This will likely make the dry-farmed vineyards quite healthy this summer. Expect grape productions to raise. As long as the summer is not too much of a scorcher, quality should be the best in a long while as well. Look for a run of good Jubileo starting with the 2009 harvest and with a hopeful repeat in 2010.

Uruguay, had some early harvest rains so Merlot in particular was not in the best condition. Albariño and Tannat, two popular offerings from our supplier Bouza, did however fare better. So not to despair.

Chile had good weather, but the harvest was down by close to 12%. Because of the earthquake, some production facilities withstood damage and were not operating at full capacity. Tabali, reported no damage and experienced a cool, dry harvest with maximum hang-time for the grapes.

Argentina had another very hot summer, one notable rainy week and then prolonged cool, dry weather. Those that knew to wait, were rewarded with perfect Brix and even phenolic ripeness and extreme dark skins due to the cold nights. Those that picked in a hurry, thinking that 2010 was going to be a replay of 2008 got grapes with marginal ripeness and poor color.

We at Bodega Calle had several heated discussions with growers wanting to harvest in a hurry. In the end, our calm in the storm paid off and we were rewarded with lots of Reserve quality wine. Even though we will make more Reserva Ca de Calle this year than ever. Alberti 154 is likely to be rewarded with lots of premium juice that really grades more into the $20 retail range rather than the $14.99/bot value we strive to hit (or exceed in this case). This reminds me what a good deal Alberti 154 is considering that most sell the product for $12.99 retail.

It is my hope one day that our wines will sell for a bit more on the shelf than they do now. Our wines spare no expense and are completely hand picked and selected and made with the use of gravity flow. We will hold the low pricing as long as we can so that everyone can try them. However, grape prices grew by between 30-50%, inflation while holding constant, currently is close to 30% on the year. Things don’t bode well for us holding pricing much longer, but we will try.



Alberti 154 and Ca de Calle get noticed!

Hi All:

As many of you know, I took over the management of Bodega Elvira Calle 3 years ago. In that time, we have improved the management and the wines. I am attaching two brand new pieces of press on our operation.

The first regards the 08 Ca de Calle Blend, which just took “best wine in the Argentine category” at the Houston Rodeo. Remember the 07 Ca de Calle got 90 pts. from Wine Spectator. The Houston Rodeo features a big wine competition of over 2000 wines.

Houston Chronical Article

Secondly, I have attached Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth’s brand new 1 page summary of his favorite Malbecs from Argentina, (Dec. 15, 2009). Guess what? 08 Alberti 154 Malbec was chosen to be in this exclusive group of “TOP VALUES” of only 16 wines!!

It is very rewarding to see that our efforts are going noticed.

Thanks for your continued support.


SWG Adds Uruguyan and Mexican Wine Leaders

Hello all:

After much hard work we are pleased and honored to announce that we have pioneered again in creating the first premium book of top suppliers of fine wine from Uruguay and Mexico.

Also, due to thier limited nature, some wines will be exclusively sold on our web site.

In the case of Mexico, we have added Baron Balche, Vinisterra, and Quinta Monastario. The wines are of different styles and from different winemakers. Each reflect a passionate drive for achievement where they have striven to honestly interpret Baja’s terroir. Each wine has layered, rich fruit flavors, true integrity and are what I would consider “serious” wines.

However, because wholesale importing is 95% of what we do, we will always add items where we can secure well priced buys of greater quantity for our wholesale network. In the case of Mexico, we have purchased 300 cases from Villa Montefiori. The wine is a delicious 07 Cab/Sangiovese ‘Mexican-Super Tuscan’ blend. Beautifully packaged and in perfect condition, this should be a hit. Ask for it at your better wine outlets. Also available online at

From Uruguay, we have added Viñedo de los Vientos and Bodega Carrau for online sales and Bodega Bouza for our wholesale network. Bouza is widely touted as Uruguay’s best boutique winery. Among their other wines, they make luscious, black velvet Tannat, fine mineral rich Chardonnay and citrusy, smooth Albarino. All of these will be available in a mere few weeks.

I wish to encourage you to try these wonderful wines soon. With the addition of these fine producers, we are now truly pan-American! Thank you.

Carmelo Patti 2005 Malbec Has Arrived

If you are looking for a gutsy, traditional style, terroir-driven Malbec bottling (something we come across less and less in these days of heavy extraction and new oak), you will be thrilled. While the wine shows plenty of the delicious boysenberry and plum fruit that make this varietal so popular, it is the wine’s beguiling earthy, mushroomy notes and slippery texture that make it memorable. The timing cannot be better, as Carmelo’s Malbec is perfect with fall foods – think roast chicken with fresh chantrelles or pumpkin risotto with guanciale.

90 Points For Durigutti 2007 Malbec (WS)

“Quite ripe and toasty, with a hefty dose of mocha and coffee laid over the fleshy dark plum, currant and blackberry fruit. This stays toasty through the finish, but it’s well-integrated, with the fruit an equal match. Drink now through 2010.” 5,800 cases made. –JM

Tabali 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Now In Stock!

After much anticipation, the 2008 vintage of Tabali Sauvignon Blanc Reserva is here. Load up the station wagon, as you will want to have this around all summer!

“The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva is a great value. It exhibits a fragrant bouquet of mineral, passion fruit, and citrus. This leads to a mouth-watering, vibrant, lengthy Sauvignon that way over-delivers for its humble price. Tabali is producing high quality wines from the newly developing cool-climate region of Limari. 90 Points.” – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Issue 182