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Wine Talk with Jose Antonio Galante of Salentein Family of Wines

Jose Antonio Galante

What can you say about an excellently turned out Chardonnay? I am sitting at a table in the elegant Lambs Club with Mr. Jose Antonio Galante, Chief Winemaker at Salentein Family of Wines.

Mr. Galante has an extensive history as a winemaker, having started at Catena Zapata which is credited for the currant quality and popularity of Argentine wine. He is extremely poised and well-spoken, and easily answers all of my technical questions about the wine.

Which brings me back to the Chardonnay. The 2010 is really delicious -- specifically it has incredible balance. There is a ripeness of fruit, and very concentrated fruit, which is balanced yet not overwhelmed by the 9 months of oak aging. It's a bit riper than a Burgundy and with more alcohol 14% yet is very Burgundian in style in its elegance.

The fruit is from the Uca valley, a very high elevation, with alluvial and stony soils. They are hand harvested in the early morning, softly de-stemmed, and transferred to a hopper where they receive dry ice to ovoid oxidation and lower the temperature. The technical data might bore you, yet the important thing to remember is that a lot of care (in the form of stirring the lees, etc) was taken in the wine's production.

The Pinot Noir is also from the Uco valley grown on La Pampa Estates. Similar steps are taken to the Chardonnay, save that the berries received a slight "cold soak/semi-maceration took place for 3- 5 days, and pumping over, and manual trampling of the cap during fermentation. The wine was racked, with malolactic fermentation taking place in barrels. The wine was barrel aged 10 - 12 months and delicious with subtle cherry, vanilla, and a touch of tobacco. 

Two Malbecs followed, Killka Malbec 2008 and the Reserve Malbec, with the Reserve having a fuller mouthfeel and more intense concentration of fruit. The Reserve had a longer masceration period and was aged for 12 - 14 months in first, second, and third use oak barrels. 

Mr. Galante is a very talented winemaker, and for three decades has been a pioneer in Argentine winemaking.

More about Salenstein Family of Wines

Located in the remote upper reaches of Argentina’s Uco Valley on the eastern slopes of the Andes, Bodegas Salentein’s vineyards are planted at some of the highest elevations on the planet.

Salentein history began with the opening of its state-of-the-art winery and cellars just one year after its debut vintage. Like all the facilities on this near 5,000-acre private estate, this uniquely cross-shaped structure was built by regional craftsmen using local materials and incorporating indigenous architectural features.

Salentein’s assurance to the community has included initiatives to help pioneer wine tourism in Mendoza’s Uco Valley. Salentein is, in short, a wine destination like no other. Its location in the foothills of the Andes is spectacular. With a 125-acre nature preserve, the exclusive Posada Salentein guest house, and the landmark Chapel of Gratitude, it has much to offer the 20,000 plus domestic and foreign visitors it receives every year.

At the heart of Salentein is the Killka Center for Culture and the Arts (LINK HERE), which opened in 2006. Built as a tribute to the people of the Uco Valley, it is a divine showcase to the region’s arts, culture and cuisine. By 2008, Killka had earned the International Gold Medal in the “art and culture” category in the Best of Wine Tourism Competition, presented by Great Wine Capitals Network.


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  1. I think Jose Antonio Galante is a great man. I would love to meet him. Wines are simply the best. Thanks for sharing this one. Cheers!

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