Interview with Pedro F. Rosell The Grand Seigneur of Argentine Sparkling Wine

5th April 2017


Pedro F. Rosell is interviewed by Michael Walz.

‘Don Pedro’, how he is respectfully called by the people around him, is Head Winemaker, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Cruzat, a winery that focuses entirely on making sparkling wine according to the Methóde Champenoise. Trained in Mendoza and Bordeaux, Pedro has significantly contributed to the sparkling wine industry in Argentina since 1978. The secret of success for this elder statesman of Argentine sparkling wine is his commitment to producing the highest quality achievable, an open mind for innovation and the ability to think outside the box.

What is the secret of success for your sparkling wines?
Working seriously and always putting quality first during the whole process of making sparkling wine. One example is low yield when obtaining the juice for our base wines. In other countries, the berries are pressed three or four times. We press them only once, extracting just between 45 and 50% of the juice, avoiding unwanted aromas from the areas immediately under the skin of the berry. As far as our Rosé is concerned, we use a method of extracting colors and aromas from the skin of our Pinot Noir grapes inspired by the way Beaujolais Primeur is made.

How has the sparkling wine industry in Argentina changed since you became involved?
One of the first changes was Chandon starting to produce dry sparkling wines in Argentina in the 1970s, getting away from the idea of demi sec. Many wineries started carrying sparkling wines in their portfolio, however, producing high yield and low quality. Neither the body of the wine nor the quality of yeast played a significant role in the process of making sparkling wine. Over time, more and more wineries started paying attention to the changing tastes of their customers, appreciating more sophisticated sparkling wines. Consequently, the quality of sparkling wines produced in Argentina has increased.

How do you see the future of Argentine sparkling wine?
Bright. Apart from the existing centers of viticulture in Argentina, there are areas like the South of the Province of Buenos Aires or Patagonia, which are apt for winegrowing. As regards international markets, the fact that people in the Far East started drinking sparkling wine is important. If every Chinese had a spoonful of sparkling wine per day, none of the wine industries in the world would suffer any kind of crisis. But, jokes aside, if Argentine producers keep taking their competition as seriously as they do, the future can be very beneficial for Argentina’s wine industry.

What’s your favourite food and sparkling wine pairing?
Oysters. Whenever my wife and I are in Chile on our summer vacation, after the morning coffee, we take a bottle of Nature and glasses to the fish-market and enjoy a dozen of oysters with sparkling wine.

Where’s the most memorable place you’ve enjoyed a Glass of Bubbly?
Well, there have been various occasions. One of them was at Château Deutz, where I tasted an aged Champagne that had rested on the lees 12 or 15 years. A truly striking experience.

Glass of Bubbly

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