This Friday, Oct 20th, at 6:30, we will co-host a 4 course (and 5 wine!) wine dinner with the awesome folks over at Tyber Creek Wine Bar & Kitchen! It’s called Winemaker Dinner: The Andes Meet the the Atlantic Coast. You can have a look at the menu here.
In this post, we’re going to talk about the wines! Or, more specifically, the people that made them. Because, as luck would have it, they will both be in DC and helping us host the dinner! As an added bonus, these two consider each other great friends and love talking about wine together, so you can be sure they’ll put on a great show!
Who they are?
Duncan Killiner - Jelu Estates - Argentina
Representing Argentina will be Duncan Killiner. For most of the 1990s, Duncan acted as a “flying winemaker,” jet setting all over the world from harvest to harvest in places as far apart as Germany and Uruguay. He ventures he took part in around 80 harvests over about a 10 year period. His final stop this harvest tour was Mendoza. After 6 months there, the Argentine terroir captured his heart!
In 2002, he founded Jelu in San Juan, about 100 miles north of where he started in Mendoza. Duncan sources only organic grapes for Jelu, from regions as far apart as Patagonia in the south of Argentina to San Juan itself.
Specifically, he tends to focus on grapes grown in the Zonda Valley of San Juan, a hot and dry place with riverbed shingles and pudding stones. These shingles and stones extend 6 feet deep and radiate heat throughout the valley. On top of this extreme terroir, during the height of summer the temperature varies up to 50 degrees over the course of a day. This creates ripe grapes with excellent acidity. Duncan harvests a bit earlier than other producers in the region to ensure that the wines ferment fully dry and balanced.
Pablo Fallabrino - ViÑedo de los vientos - Uruguay
In many ways Pablo’s story is the opposite of Duncan’s. He didn’t experience every imaginable type of harvest before finding his favorite. Instead, he was born into it! Pablo’s grandfather came to Uruguay from Piedmont in the 1920, then started a vineyard in the 1930s. Pablo has followed in his father’s footsteps, as his father did before him.
Pablo’s story is one of overcoming great loss. Within 4 years, he lost his father in 1991, then his grandfather in 1995. All of a sudden, he had to figure out how to run a winery on his own. Not only did he accept the challenge, he has taken his grandfather’s vision to new heights, becoming the first of his family to bring his wines to international markets, to great acclaim.
Though Pablo had a traditional start in the wine world, his approach and techniques are anything but. In 2004 he released a fascinating dessert wine he called Alcyone, made by combining the winemaking techniques behind Barolo Chinato and Marsala. The first shipment to New York sold out practically immediately. Recently, Pablo expanded his operations and added a new, experimental vineyard to his holdings called “Catedral.” Ranging from 500 to 600 meters above sea level, no other vineyard in Uruguay sits higher - the second highest vineyard resides at 200 meters. Over the past 6 years he’s been experimenting to see which varieties grow best in this environment by working with Arneis, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Tannat.
So there you have it! Two amazing winemakers who are great friends, exceptionally talented, and excited to tell you about their wines, travels and experiences! You can sign up at the bottom of the menu page. The meal is $75 + tax and gratuity, or $99 all included. We can’t wait to see you there!
If you are unable to attend the wine dinner you can stop by our #dailycata on Saturday from 3-5pm to meet the winemakers and taste their vinos!