Dominio del Plata

Susana Balbo

After an already long and successful career in winemaking, Susana Balbo described her own winery - Dominio del Plata - as 'like my third child, a dream come true.'

Susana graduated with a degree in oenology in 1981 - the first woman in Argentina to do so, but this wasn't enough for the gutsy Balbo: she also achieved the degree with honours as the best graduate of her year. Having worked extensively both in Argentina and throughout the winemaking world (Spain, Chile, Italy, Australia, and California among others) since the early eighties, it wasn't until the cusp of the shiny new millennium in 1999 that she finally realised her ambition of making her own wine at Dominio del Plata in the famous Mendoza region.

Susana established her winery in Agrelo, assisted by the renowned Argentine viticulturist Pedro Marchevsky who helped plant the vineyards. Susana's ideas on social responsibility extend to sponsoring the local football club and community dining scheme, and also contributing to the education of their workers' children.

The team at the winery are young and dynamic, enabling Susana to continue with her quest for innovation to satisfy an ever-changing and increasingly discerning world palate. As well as significantly raising the profile of the torrontés grape by using it to make fresh, citrusy white wines, Susana is seen by many as queen of malbec in the country that made the grape truly famous. Her success with this grape ranges from the vibrant, youthful, everyday Faldeos Malbec - a range made for The Wine Society - to the silky, oak-aged Signature (in which she also earns great success with cabernet sauvignon).

One of her finest wines - the Susana Balbo Brioso - is an artful blend of cabernet, malbec, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot, and is always a triumph with members. Maybe it is her maternal affection for her wines that has made her so skilled at the art of blending, enabling her to achieve some of the most delicate and balanced aromas and flavours with the malbec grape at staggering value for money (a far cry from its early days as the many-named ugly duckling of the French varietals). Achieving this at a time when few thought women capable of even being winemakers makes this accolade all the more admirable.

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