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by Fred McMillin
Trapiche (trah-PEE-chay) Chardonnay
1861—The town of Mendoza, Argentina is totally destroyed by a disasterous earthquake. The future founder of the Trapiche Winery, Italian Don Tiburcio Benegas, has an older brother in Mendoza.
1996—"The Trapiche Winery in Mendoza is believed to be the second-largest in the world." (Adam Strum, Wine Enthusiast)
How did that happen? Here are some milestones.
1865—Twenty-one-year-old Tiburcio arrives in Mendoza at his brother's urging. He notes that the only way to store your money safely is to bury it in the garden. At age 25 he founds a bank.
1870—Now a civic leader, he marries Lubina Blanco whose father is a wine expert, having published The Vines and Wines of Mendoza.
1883—Don Benegas has been bitten by Bacchus and buys the 625-acre property named...'EL TRAPICHE'! Wild llamas wonder among its low-quality vines.
1886—Now elected Governor of Mendoza province, he brings in the most modern French winery equipment, and is the first to import French vines.
O.K. Let's fast-forward a century and see how one of those French varieties is doing, Chardonnay.
1990, New York Times—Argentine Chardonnays show considerable promise. The best, Trapiche's among them, are clean and fresh.
1996, Wine Enthusiast—Trapiche is planting some of the best vineyards in the world...including bringing in outstanding clones from France.
So here's our Wine of the Day.
1997 Trapiche Chardonnay
Argentina is a major player in the world of wine.
My latest data, chiefly from the Wine Institute's
Gladys Horiuchi, indicate it is the:
5th largest producer of wine in the world.
4th largest exporter of wine into the U.S.A.
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