March 14, 2013

Mendoza Wineries ~ O. Fournier

One day last week, we took a drive, with our wonderful driver Walter Nievas. We drove along famous Ruta 40 towards the Andes and the Valle de Uco to visit three different wineries. It was a short drive, only about 150 km. Perhaps a bit more advance consultation with Walter might have been wise, but here we are.

Our first visit was to O. Fournier, which is a temple to wine. Built in 2000 by a Spanish family group that has holdings in Spain, Argentina and Chile with ownership of 435 hectares, of which 160 are now in production. This is a family group with serious plans and deep pockets indeed.

A prominent feature of the O. Fournier structure is the roof with its wild space ship landing pad image. This winery has a capacity of 600,000 litres with an underground cellar capable of holding up to 2800 barrels.

A theme here is the Southern Cross, the star group only visible to those in the southern hemisphere. That image is reflected in the branding of the wines (Alfa Crux and B Crux) and in the beautiful cellar. There is a spiritual feeling in this place, and it is intentional.

Our host was a young winemaker named Mario, who delighted in sharing his thoughts during the tasting, and in inviting ours as well. Winemakers tend to do that, ask your opinions about the tasting, and it is an important part of understanding what your customers like. Imagine, asking a customer what she actually thinks of the product.

Art works appear in the cellar and the tasting room. Those in the tasting room change over the course of time; they are rented in the company's effort to support local artists. The only permanent piece is that to the left. There is something unique about the work, and if you look more closely you discover it has been created by working entirely with plasticine.

Nice wines and a beautiful operation with a first class restaurant and plans to build a hotel and spa. Those deep pockets again.

And for us, out to the dry wind and back on the road.

Visit O. Founier's website here: www.ofournier.com

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