Mendoza is a highly traditional winemaking region, and we are very used to living surrounded by vineyards and cellars — as such, the culture of the province is affected by winemaking.
I asked my dad for guidance while I was deciding what to pursue after graduating high school, and winemaking was one of the alternatives.
He has many contacts in the wine business, and he arranged for me to complete an internship at a winery 60 kilometres from the Chandon property, where I would be working in the cellar. That’s when I fell in love with winemaking.
At Don Bosco University, one of Argentina’s most illustrious educational institutions, I studied enology and learned about the tremendous potential of the sparkling wine market. At the young age of twenty-one, I had the opportunity to intern in a winery for the first time, after which I went to South Africa and Spain to extend my horizons.
When did you Start Working at Chandon, and How do you Feel You’ve Adapted to the Current Crew?
I’ve been a part of Chandon Argentina’s winemaking team for the past year, after spending the previous several years in other parts of the world, making this my fifth year with the company.
It was my first professional experience, and I am eternally grateful to the team for pushing me to think outside the bottle right away. As a company, Chandon’s mission is to “create a world of opportunity in wines and flavours,” and we believe Garden Spritz exemplifies this promise.
When the group finally realised that I was the perfect addition to the team, I felt like a million bucks. In addition, I’m the first woman to make wine in the Chandon winery in Argentina in over 60 years!
How Do You Balance Being a Winemaker and a Member of the R&D Team?
Chandon is widely recognised as a top Argentine brand. As a member of a highly skilled winemaking team, I assist in all aspects of production, from harvest to vinification to bottling to communication.
We’ve got one side of our brains working on perfecting our present selection of sparkling wines, and the other side dreaming up exciting new ways to enjoy sparkling beverages.
When we have confidence in a new development, we don’t wait to finish our research and implement it, so we can inform our foreign partners of its viability.
Exactly What did you Want Garden Spritz to do?
The original goal of our creation was to make the purest spritz possible. The typical recipe calls for 70% sparkling wine, a splash of soda water, and a dash of bitter liqueur like Aperol, Campari, or Cynar.
Using our expertise in blending not only sparkling wine but also the most natural orange bitter liqueur, we created Chandon Garden Spritz to introduce a new bubble aperitif to the world.
My grandmother’s gorgeous garden, from which she harvested her own fresh fruits, and her “Orangecello” recipe served as my inspiration. This search for the finest oranges, spices, and herbs has been central to my life’s work for the past four years.
I had faith in the quality of the Chandon brut sparkling wine that we produce at our Mendoza winery; nevertheless, we knew we had to start from scratch when choosing the Valencia oranges and other herbs and spices that would go into our handcrafted orange-bitter liqueur.
What Kind of Flavour Profile were you Aiming for, and Why?
As Argentines, we are known for our love of bitter flavours like Yerba Maté (tea) and Fernet, and this dish draws inspiration from both traditions. In the last, 64th iteration of the recipe, I bolstered the potency.
I aimed for a tonic amount of bitterness to entice you to take another bite. The blind tasting was the end of it all. There was only one person, and their number was 64.
We’re thrilled with its success in Argentina and happy that it’s quickly becoming a modern classic among Argentines.
I Take that you’ve Never Made a Drink Before that Included Something Except Grapes; Was this your First Time?
Yes, although at first we experimented with other fruits in Garden Spritz… But I must admit that Argentina produces oranges of amazing quality, so it was an obvious and logical choice.
Just what Challenges did you Face, and How did You Manage to Get through them?
We treated the oranges like grapes in our research and preparation of them. Our biggest issue was deciding which orange type to use and when to pick them so that they would be at their peak of ripeness and sweetness.
Then, we developed a wide variety of concepts until we found “the one.” Finding the right balance between the spices and oranges has proven to be the most challenging aspect of this process.
This is a delicate and exacting process; adding even a couple of extra drops of any ingredient will throw off the flavour of the bitter liqueur. My favourite part of the whole creative process was getting to refine and offer the finest possible proposal.
I was Wondering Whether there were Going to be More Spritzes Made.
For a long time, we struggled with countless inadequate proposals. So, you can see that it takes a long time and a lot of testing before a new recipe is made public.
For the upcoming months, I intend to ensure that we continue making premium Chandon Garden Spritz through careful ingredient selection. I am continually experimenting with new recipes and concepts in the lab, but at this time we have no plans to share them with the public.