What One Wine Represents Your Generation? (Judging The 2013 Argentina Wine Awards)

Vinted on November 28, 2012 binned in going pro

This coming February, I’ll be representing Team USA in the 2013 Argentina Wine Awards. No, I won’t be performing on the parallel bars – I’ll be the sole U.S. judge on an international panel that includes writers, sommeliers, and other geeky wine folk from China, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Switzerland and the UK (who somehow managed to get two representatives), all of whom will convene in Argentina to taste through something like 750 wines over the course of a few days.

To the tape:

“Designed to benchmark and reward the quality and advancement of the Argentine wine industry, the Argentina Wine Awards have established themselves as the most important event in the local calendar as well as being increasingly followed with interest by those in the wider world of wine. Over 740 wine samples participated in the 2012 edition.”

I’m stoked – and not a little intimidated (representing the country? no pressure!) – to get back down to Argentina, a place I haven’t visited in nearly two years (and where I ate well, drank well, and was unbelievable sick… there will be a Z-pack in the travel bag this time).

The reason I‘m telling you all of this? I need your help!…

Here’s the deal:

Each of the judges on the International panel have ben asked to pick a wine (any wine) about which we will speak for a few minutes, and which will be tasted by those all those attending the seminar that will help conclude the annual event.

Said wine must meet the following criteria:

  • A wine that supports your views in regard to wine styles and innovations that appeal to ‘The New Generation’ in your domestic market
  • Retails per bottle between 13 and 25 USD (or equivalent)

“New Generation” hasn’t been formally defined, so let’s assume they’re talking about Millennials. So, I might be breaking the second guideline, because I strongly believe that they got the price range totally wrong, particularly if they’re talking about Millennials (try $13 or under, amigos!).

Now, I’ve got a wine in mind already, BUTI’m very interested in what wine you would select to be the sole representative of your generation (whether you’re a Millennial or not!). What one wine would you pick to sum up the approach, stylistic preferences, and gestalt of your entire age bracket when it comes to fine wine? And why?

Shout it out in the comments! Of course, twitter and Facebook responses are also welcome, if only because I know you people will respond there and ignore my pleas to capture all the great ideas in one place… don’t worry, I can deal…

Cheers – and thanks!





  • masi3v

    I am not a millennial (are you?) and the price range is rather tough, so I would go with the Siduri Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. For me it has the fruit but also the balance and represents a new approach to wine making (one of the first to head into an office park, I believe) where you don't need the fancy (and expensive) tasting room over looking the vineyard. You just need to make great juice. Have a great trip!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, masi3v – I guess you're talking about your/our gen with that wine?

  • masi3v

    I guess so. I really can't get my head around the concept of one wine that defines a generation–how the hell can one wine do that? Are we talking about wine 'savvy' type people or the whole generation? If it is the latter, I would guess that Yellow Tail would define the Millennial generation and Woodbridge would define ours (based on what I assume the sales are). If you want to limit it to those who are more into wine, it gets a lot trickier…

    • 1WineDude

      Masi – very true, my friend. I suppose I'd err on the side of the wine savvy in this case.

    • @UCBeau

      I'm scared to think about how right you may be..trying to use one single wine to define a generation strikes me as rather dumb. My (Millennial – older bracket) generation's wine might be that Apothic Red crap. How discouraging!

      • 1WineDude

        Beau – in general, maybe it is mass market. But for the wine-savvy, I think it's much more interesting, off the beaten path, etc. At least, I hope it is…

        • @UCBeau

          I hope it is too, but the number of us that are seeking those more interesting wines is considerably smaller than the number of Millennials who buy a bottle at Trader Joe's or their local supermarket. Hopefully that changes though!

  • Les Hubbard

    Finding a wine at that price point can be difficult, besides I'd hardly qualify at age 75 to suggest. So when in Argentina do as the Argentinians do and look to that country's wines. Certainly Malbec has become Argentina's signature export wine, but if you really want to enjoy the great stuff, you must go to a higher price point. So Joe, I'll leave it to you to choose a really nice Argentine Torrontes, a grape that is really beginning to exhibit its beautiful legs (hint for your Playboy column) within that price point range. Are you up to the challenge?

    • 1WineDude

      thanks, Les – but then, I'm not sure I'd pick torrontes to represent either your gen or the younger millennial. :-)

  • Bonnie

    Pelee Island merlot. Bold yet mellow, goes with everything, versatile. I don't want to spend a lot of time and effort selecting wine most of the time, I want one dynamic standby that pairs well with everything but also stands alone nicely and doesn't break the bank. I like a variety of wines but this is the one standby that I always have on hand and always pleases. Quality and versatility are important, I get it all with Pelee Island Merlot. I'm 35, not sure if I'm considered Milennial or not, but I do know this wine is very popular among friends and relatives in my age category, alongside almost anything..

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Bonnie. You might have *just * squeaked into the millennial camp there. :-)

  • Todd - VT Wine Media

    I think I understand why the organizers would like to see you suss out this information, dig up this holy grail, unveil this mystery, but the endeavor itself is hopelessly flawed. The question reeks from the commercial avarice and impatience of a prior generation trying to proactively suck the life out of the subsequent one.

    OK maybe a bit harsh, but how in the hell are you supposed to come up with the magic wine that meets the need of a generation whose desires have not even fully crystallized yet? Are those needs not a quickly moving targets? I am guessing that you are to pick a wine because it indirectly leads discussion to a description of the consumer groups in question, it just seems terribly reductionist, and kind of a parlor game.

    Heck of a test to put you through after you are run through the gauntlet of several hundred wines.
    Mini-rant aside, I'm sure it will be a great experience, and that you will represent the US with pride and do by us honorably.

    • 1WineDude

      Todd – understood, and to some extent I agree. But, I think / hope the point is more just to get people in the industry thinking, which is how I'll be approaching it, anyway.

      • Todd - VT Wine Media

        I hear you, I hear you…my pressurized cork just popped a bit there…
        I'm not going to help you with a wine, but maybe with some suggested criteria:
        1) Domestic – [ you are the rep after-all ]
        2) fairly widely available – [ to represent non-exclusivity and community ]
        3) A brand that has both an "entry level" wine and "aspiration" wine that is still within reach.
        [ recognizing reality and still encouraging the American dream]

        • 1WineDude

          Thanks, Todd. Deep breaths, bro! :-) I am sure I can accommodate the latter two, not so sure about the first…

          • Todd - VT Wine Media

            I was thinking along the lines of a Chateau St. Michele…
            D'oh! You got me to help anyways ;)

            • 1WineDude

              Todd – ha! Suckah! :-)

  • Richard Auffrey

    I straddle the line between Baby Boomer and Gen X, dependent on what birth years you include in each definition. But I came of drinking age when Robert Parker was making his mark on the wine world. Like him or not, he has made an indelible mark on the wine industry, being one of the most prominent wine influencers for my generation. So, any wine meant to represent my generation would need to be a high scoring Parker wine.

    • 1WineDude

      Richard – thanks, interesting pick / justification!

  • tom merle

    A "natural" wine. Say Hill Company Wines Napa Valley Cab which retails for under $25. Or a negociant wine like a Cameron Hughes Lot.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Tom – would love to know why you picked those…

    • Wineguy999

      I guess it had to come up. Tom, "Natural Wine" is a garbage can term with no meaning whatsoever. It means nothing, there is no regulation on the use of the term, nor a body which would oversee such regulation.

      This needs to go away.

      • 1WineDude

        Wineguy – the term “reserve” is the same in the US, doubt we'll see that one disappear anytime too soon, though…

  • WestchesterWineGuy

    Interesting concept Joe… and tough to pinpoint a single wine for an exercise like this. But I think Todd is on the right track. As more of a Gen Xer than a Millennial, I feel like I may have a deeper appreciation for the history and pioneers of California wine country. So while some may perceive Mondavi as being a monster in the industry and overly commercialized, I recognize Mondavi for his pioneer spirit and for encapsulating the heart and soul of what Napa is to all of us today. So while the entry Private Selection label leans more towards that over produced, commercialized juice, the Napa line of wines are solid across the board offering high Napa quality at a fair price point and are readily available just about everywhere. And since it's Napa, you gotta go with the Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet. I also go with this wine as I can't think of the last dinner party I was at where someone didn't bring this for the host or serve it at dinner…a virtual safe haven selection for the novice drinker but provides a pleasure drinking experience for the connoisseur. Good luck Joe… do us proud ;)

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Westchester. I'll do my best! Really enjoyed your pick and the justification. Cheers!

    • Todd - VT Wine Media

      Also a Gen Xer, and maybe I'm just sensitive about being lumped as a group. I have to wonder how the millenial generation feels about this query, or more importantly, the responses.

  • @QuitWINEing

    Joe Mama….interesting question you pose…we're all so different…

    Since I'm a millennial, I figured I'd chime in. At first thought, Riesling and Moscato came to mind, as did rosé. It's what gets ordered most by young people, due in part to the spotlight these wines have been given by famous rappers.

    Malbec also came to mind. The grape has had a dramatic increase in popularity over the last century. Its New World style is something millenials like and since it's not Cab or Merlot, it's seen as hip. Also, it's much more affordable than many big boy US reds.

    Then, I read in the comments, "wine savvy millenials" and pondered the question again. That's a tough one! We "wine savvy" millennials are interested in trying obsure wines that can offer a new experience. However, if I had to choose just one wine, I think it would be Riesling. Both newcomers to wine and novices alike all love Riesling. There's the New World styles that offer newcomers a good dose of sugar/fruit/acid and then there's the Old World versions with high acidity and varying degrees of sweetness that I, along with many other wine lovers worship.

    As for a certain producer….I can't even begin to think about it! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

    • 1WineDude

      @QuitWINEing – what's happenin'? Thanks, interesting points and regarding Riesling: I *knew* there must have been some reason I like millennials, and I do believe you may have just highlighted it :-) . cheers!

  • gabe

    I'm on the downward slope of the millenial bell-curve, but I'm gonna call myself close enough. Besides, I'm the old guy in one group of my millenial friends, and that's gotta be worth something. I also have a million ideas, but will try to limit myself to a couple general suggestions.

    First of all, I agree with the person who said millenials like weird wines. My friends are much more likely to drink gruner veltliner than they are to drink chardonnay. That goes for wine-savvy and wine novices alike.

    I also agree with your assessment that cheap matters. Under $13 would be great. That said, most of my young friends are willing to spend up to $20 on something for a special occasion. Over $20 seems like an unlikely choice.

    Finally, I will add one original thought. The younger generation is into indie rock, start-up restaurants, and small production wineries. Think local and artisan. There are plenty of wineries in Oregon that fit into all three categories, with Haden Fig and Cameron being the two biggest hipster wineries I can think of.

    Sounds like a fun tasting, can't wait to hear more!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Gabe. If you think that's interesting, I wonder what the picks will be for the Chinese market… It probably won't be boring! :-)

  • @UCBeau

    For me, at around $20, 2011 Marcel Lapierre Morgon. Why?
    1. I found out about the producer via the friends I have on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. That is to say, it was a crowd-sourced wine.
    2. It's arguably one of the most delightfully quaffable wines on the market today, yet also a unique, relatively obscure wine from a small producer.
    3. Beaujolais is seemingly hipper than ever, transcending generations even, as my older wine-friends seek it out just as much as I (and younger friends) do.
    4. There is so much ringing authenticity to the wine, it's a pure expression of grapes made by a producer that has real, legitimate heritage. Millennials claim to love that kind of stuff, right?
    5. It's relatively easy to find in most major markets, therefore, an egalitarian wine, one that any wine geek could seek out and purchase.


    • 1WineDude

      Beau – damn, bro, you knocked that reco out of the park! Nicely done.

      • @UCBeau

        thank you sir!

  • gabe

    p.s. nice glamour shot; i've never seen you in a suite before

    • 1WineDude

      Gabe – or a suit, right? :-) That photo is from my wedding!

  • Solomon Mengeu

    Hi you asked the question so here is my answer.

    Argentinean wine as whole is an interesting subject as you don't have a huge variety of terrior that you find it other New World countries such as Auz, NZ, SA, Chile etc. Having said that where I live I've found two Argentinean wines that I think sum up what the country is capable of; no they are not gold medal, award winning, dare I say 'Parker' wines. They are wines that have a sense of place and express their terrior and are actually affordable if you have a normal salary. Okay here goes:

    White: Quara Reserva Torrontes 2010

    This is from Finca Quara which is Cafayate Valley in Salta, Argentina your Torrontes doesn't get much better than this. On the nose lots of roses, flowers, somewhat herbal; on the palate you can get some stone fruit and its an excellent medium-bodied white. Its become my wife's and I favorite white we can buy locally and at 10-11 US$ it's a hard to beat price for sure.

    Red: 2010 Michel Torino Don David Malbec

    This again comes from Cafayate Valley, Salta. Yes I know supposedly all 'good' Argentine Malbec comes from Mendoza, but I beg to differ; I have some great Malbec from Mendoza and I have bad Malbec from Mendoza as well. So about this because of the slightly higher altitude the grapes have a different taste profile, so in the wine you get dark plums, ripe fruit, some meaty notes, dark berries, etc.

    It might not be a Christmas or anniversary wine, but for everyday drinking with a good pasta or steak at again 10-11 US$ dollars its hard to beat that quality at that price. Oh by the way I'm 36 so I don't know that that makes me a Millennial, but definitely a wine lover all the same.


    Solomon Mengeu

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Solomon – that Don David is a very solid buy. Cheers!

  • stanthewineman

    O.K Mr. 1 Wine Dude…
    From my point of view, I see millenials looking for something off the beaten path and cheap but not "cheap". Italian wines especially Nero D'Avola are popular. Spanish wines are big since they are good and inexpensive. Stay away from Rioja however… Nothing traditional. Prosecco is huge! They like blends that are cheap and interesting. Washington has a bunch that are not Apothic Red. Haystack Needle "The Eye" is a classic along with Boar Doe from Tagaris. French wines are not for the New Generation, at least from my observations. They are adventurous and do not want the norm. However they do not want to waste their money on a whim. Safe but not too safe. Portugal is also a good place to look. The Dows Val do Bomfim is a good choice and an excellent price (Just as an example). Good luck Joe!

    • 1WineDude

      thanks, Stan!

  • Rob

    Hi Joe – I'm not quite in the MIllenial Generation (just a couple years too old!), but I am certainly into unusual wines and spirits. If I had to pick one to represent the new generation (which, as noted above, is a bit of a tall order), I would go with Alpha Estate Axia from Greece. It's a Xinomavro/Syrah blend, combining an obscure grape of the old world with one of the most popular international varieties. It's a marvelously innovative wine, yet it's produced in the country that many see as the epitome of economic backwardness. It's a mass of contradictions, the Axia, rather like the new generation. Most important, it tastes delicious and costs much closer to $13 than $25.

    I look forward to hearing which wine you do end up choosing – good luck with the judging, and happy travels!

    • 1WineDude

      Interesting pick, Rob – thanks!

  • David T

    I'm a millennial. I'm going to go with the Bedrock 2010 Sonoma Coast Syrah, First, it's MADE by a millennial, who's quickly turning into a very respected winemaker, whose mailing list is fairly closed yet the wines are available at retail if you know where to look. Second, it represents Team USA. I just had the chance to visit Sonoma this past spring and would move there if I could- beautiful country. Third, it's a fantastic wine, one of the best I've had recently at the $20 price point, coming from the Ravenwood lineage of tradition yet with a fresh take on winemaking technique. Lastly, I think Morgan deserves major kudos for his attempt at keeping historic vineyards alive and making wines representative of their decades-old 'field blends' rather than going for the newest most buzz-worthy vineyard or grape variety.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, David – I need to get my hands on one of those, I think!

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