Gouguen­heim Win­ery

A fam­ily busi­ness rein­vent­ing suc­cess in the Uco Val­ley


Back in the early 2000s the Ar­gen­tinian econ­omy crashed, and the coun­try’s wine in­dus­try soon fol­lowed. But in 2002, Pa­tri­cio Gouguen­heim – born in Ar­gentina to French par­ents – took an op­po­site di­rec­tion to most, en­ter­ing the wine trade in­stead of leav­ing it.

A seven-year-old Pa­tri­cio first dis­cov­ered his love for wine when his fa­ther let him taste some at meal­times mixed with sparkling wa­ter. His later ca­reer in merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions led him to Men­doza and, af­ter com­ing across a win­ery in the Uco Val­ley, he quickly re­alised that his old life work­ing in fi­nance was over. While this win­ery was all but aban­doned, it was nev­er­the­less blessed with an abun­dance of small con­crete tanks – per­fect for mak­ing high-qual­ity, site-fo­cused wines

‘I worked with an in­vest­ment group try­ing to sell two Ar­gen­tinian winer­ies in the US and UK mar­kets,’ re­calls Gouguen­heim of his ear­lier ca­reer. ‘I stud­ied the busi­ness for al­most two years un­til I be­came fas­ci­nated by this old win­ery in the mid­dle of the Uco Val­ley.

‘It was in Tupun­gato, where you find the high­est vines in Men­doza. Hav­ing vine­yards at height – ours are at more than 1,000m alti­tude – means hav­ing good qual­ity wines. There is a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween wines from this re­gion with those that come from other parts of Men­doza. With great views of the An­des moun­tains, an ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem and re­ally unique soils, it was the per­fect lo­ca­tion to start this fam­ily busi­ness I’ve that I’d al­ways dreamt of.’

With no pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence as a wine pro­ducer, Gouguen­heim un­der­stand­ably started mak­ing wines – mainly oaked Mal­becs – that fol­lowed Ar­gentina’s tried and tested tra­di­tions. Yet, in 2014, the win­ery was the first in the coun­try to make and sell a sparkling wine made from the coun­try’s sig­na­ture grape, called Mal­bec Bub­bles Rosé Ex­tra Brut.

The Mal­bec must is mac­er­ated for three days prior to fer­men­ta­tion which takes place in stain­less steel tanks at a cool tem­per­a­ture of 12°C in or­der to re­tain the va­ri­ety’s fresh aro­mat­ics and brisk, pri­mary red fruit flavours.

This ex­cit­ing new wine – a first for Ar­gentina – was a sparkling suc­cess from the off, earn­ing 89 points in De­can­ter in May 2017 and now 91 points in this is­sue

(see p99). Such val­i­da­tion is fur­ther proof, along with in­creas­ing suc­cess at home and in other in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, that Gouguen­heim’s judge­ment to fol­low his dream de­spite the eco­nomic pres­sures of 16 years ago was the right one.

‘I never re­gret, not even for a minute, what we’ve done,’ says Gouguen­heim. ‘I wanted a change in my qual­ity of life – to cre­ate a fam­ily busi­ness, and to pro­duce some­thing I am proud of. That is why we use our name in our wines. I have my sons work­ing by my side, and my grand­chil­dren are al­ready be­com­ing fa­mil­iar with the win­ery.’

Above: Gouguen­heim vines with the An­des in the back­ground

Gouguen­heimÕs sparkling rosŽ

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.