Susana Balbo Malbec Mandala collection, 2011, Argentina

Drunk September 2013, Goucho Chancery Lane, London


The winery

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In 1999, after working more than 20 years as a consultant winemaker for national and international wine companies, Susana Balbo decided to have her dream come true and started to build Dominio del Plata in the Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza.

Born into a traditional family, Susana reneged of her fate since she was young by applying to study nuclear physics in Bariloche. Being this a very unconventional choice for the time, her parents refused to let her leave Mendoza. From that point, Susana decided to follow the family business (viticulture) professionally, thus challenging the contemporary social beliefs, because at that time no women had graduated as winemaker.

She was the first Argentinean woman hired as a consultant to wineries worldwide: Spain, Chile, Italy, Brazil, Australia, and California. This experience allowed her to always be ahead of market trends and wine styles.

The creation of my wines at Dominio del Plata is to me the maximum achievement as a winemaker, product of all my efforts and many years of hard work. I could say that the winery is like my third child, a dream come true.”


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Her children, José, winemaker graduated from UC Davis (California) and Ana, Bachelor of Business Administration from University San Andrés (Buenos Aires) decided to go on with the family tradition and join Dominio del Plata team.

The winery is situated at the foothills of The Andes Range and during the winter, the mountains accumulate the ice of the purest water which will slowly melt during the spring and summer months to provide a unique source for the vineyard.

Each grape variety is hand- picked and carefully handled so as to maintain the fruit expression and achieve wines with a unique style.

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The wine

Susana sounds a remarkable woman and this is a remarkably good malbec. With its deep purple colour out of the bottle, the nose is powerfully fruity with hints of blackberry, roses. On the palate the Susana Balbo Mandala was velvety smooth, balancing tannins with acidity making it perfect with the marinated sirloin from the Goucho Argentinian restaurant which this was paired with. I have never been to Argentina, but this has inspired me to visit one day to see the vines for myself.