Piedra Negra, Argentina
A semester at university in Mendoza inspired Frenchman Thibault Lepoutre to return to the country six years later to work for François Lurton’s Piedra Negra winery. In the meantime, he’d finished his studies in Bordeaux and Montpellier, and worked in Portugal and the Ukraine, picking up two more languages along the way. He also plays the guitar and clarinet and flies small planes.
This impressive polyglot makes a number of impressive wines at Piedra Negra in Los Chacayes (as well as for his own micro-project, Mundo Revès) – none more so than the Gran Lurton Corte Friulano white blend, which has always been one of Argentina’s best and most ageworthy wines, but has reached new levels of complexity on his watch since 2012, blending Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay to brilliant effect. He also has a hand in another stellar white wine, Blanchard y Lurton, François Lurton’s joint venture with Andrés Blanchard. Are these works of art? Lepoutre doesn’t think so. ‘Winemakers are artisans or craftsmen if you prefer, not artists, but through our wines we can provoke emotions in people, maybe even encourage them to dream a little.’