German di Cesare wants you to know that there is strength in unity. That even among rivals, there can be cooperation. And that people coming from the same starting points can reach very different destinations. This is how he describes the current cadre of young Mendozan winemakers, of which he is one of the stars.
German started at Trivento back in 2002, while he was studying enology at the local university after six years of training in school. He kept putting in the hours there, under veteran winemaker Manuel Gonzalez, even as he finished his licenciatura (sort of like a master's degree). German took over Trivento's varietal wines in 2005 and then the premium lines in 2008. All along the way, he was working in parallel with other young men and women whom he'd known for years as classmates, colleagues, and eventually competitors.
"There's a group of winemakers who are very passionate, about wine and the land," he says, giving a range of ages from 30 to 50. "The great masters have already put their seals on the industry. This group has more contact with the commercial matters, the press, and we all know each other; we met each other in school."
Together, the younger generation is trying to propel Argentina to the summit of global winemaking. "When we leave Mendoza, there's a very strong union between us despite working for different companies - we all work for brand Argentina," German says. "During the harvest, this cordiality endures. There's a lot of communication."
A keen awareness of the commercial aspects of the industry comes through in Trivento's philosophy, too. "Trivento has a great vision to be one of the leaders in premium wines from Argentina, as much in sales as in quality," German says. "We try not to intervene too much, just the right amount, always seeking wines people can enjoy, so it's not too difficult for people to understand them. Drinkability is a theme that's very much in our minds." The challenge, he says, is to maintain high quality as production volumes rise.
Of course, German still likes to try new things and occasionally surprise the palate. "There's a freedom, because consumers generally are very open," he says. "You want to make a wine, you can find someone for it. There's a lot of willingness to try new things." And with 1,300 hectares of under vine all over Mendoza - in Lujan de Cuyo, Tupungato, Tunuyan, and Altamira - he has a huge spectrum of flavors and characters from which to choose.
"For winemakers, to have that range of different vineyards is a great advantage, because we can play with the different profiles for our premium range as well as our top flight wines," German says. "We're working a lot on the diversification of our soils. In the same vineyards, there are areas of more stone, less stone, more clay, less clay. If you harvest all of it at once, you lose that."
Many Mendozan winemakers learn this sensitivity to the nuances of the land underfoot from an early age. And to German, horses, music, and other aspects of local culture are as linked to the wine as the soil itself. "I'm very involved in that beautiful world, and the wine is very present in it."
We've been fans of Trivento for some time now, from the fantastically affordable Amado Sur blends to the breathtaking Eolo malbec. The good news is that German's latest wines, like the 2013 Golden Reserve Malbec, show great potential as well. He's working hard to make sure that you can enjoy them, too, wherever you happen to be. Salud!