Argentinean winemaker Ernesto Bajda, brought his Don Miguel Gascon malbec to San Francisco last week along with his story of fate in the vineyards.
“I believe it was destiny that I am in the wine industry,” he said. “My father and grandfather were coopers who made the wine barrels and I was supposed to be an accountant. So, it’s ironic today that they made the barrels and now I am filling them.”
Bajda started studying agriculture along side engineering and working in the vineyards at the university in Argentina. He had to make research wine for a project and fell in love with winemaking; destiny stepped in at the right time.
“My personal view is that you have to take risks in winemaking and the learning never stops,” he said. “It’s like a process and you have to break the barrier of fear and start learning about the grapes. We are over-delivering wonderful quality.”
Bajda said there are two reasons why malbec thrives in the Mendoza region: the high altitude (2,500 to 5,000 feet) growing conditions and the influence from the desert.
Even inside the same vineyard, malbec will respond differently and will result in a completely different wine.
“Our malbec is slightly aged in oak for finesse and complexity,” he said. “I want to see the bluish-purple in the glass with dark fruit, violet flowers and soft tannins on the palate. If you taste a chalky malbec, blame the winemaker not the grape.”
Price points for the Gascon malbec wines range from $15 to $25 and are available throughout California.
“I think the biggest challenges facing malbec growers is showing the people of the world how many wines are coming from so many regions in the Mendoza,” he said. “Another challenge is exploring new areas to plant vineyards and how they will behave.”