Q&A with David Bonomi Chief Winemaker at Bodega Norton on Malbec World Day
On Malbec World Day, we talk to David Bonomi, Chief Winemaker at Bodega Norton about his influences, terroir and memorable vintages.
A Mendozan by birth, David Bonomi’s passion for wine started during his childhood when he spent much of his time in his father’s vineyards. His enthusiasm for the world of wine continued to grow and he studied oenology at university in Mendoza.
Following winemaking roles in several wineries, David joined Bodega Norton in 2002 under the mentorship of Jorge Riccitelli and then went on to lead winemaking teams at other notable wineries in Mendoza. In 2014 David returned to Norton to join the winemaking team and last year became Chief Winemaker, continuing the winemaking expertise which started more than 120 years ago.
Bonomi is one of the new generation of winemakers committed to matching vineyard to grape variety, his recent notable work, in particular has focused on Norton’s terroirs and realizing the potential of Malbec and other grape varieties in each of the five estates. In October 2017, Decanter magazine named him as one of South America’s Top 10 Winemakers and previously had been noted by Drinks Business as one of Argentina’s Top 10 Young Winemakers to watch.
Q: If you could pick 3 vintages that were the most memorable to you, which ones would you chose and why?
A: 2002 because this was the first vintage that I have worked with that was both high in quality and volume and where I learned to understand how the climate of Mendoza can influence the style of wine produced. 2007 was a harvest defined by the unusually low temperatures, resulting in wines from vineyards planted in higher altitude zones in Mendoza having with a fresher style. Lastly 2016 because this was the vintage where we learned to manage the scarcity/ shortage of grapes, whilst delivering quality and even more freshness in the wines.
Q: What makes the region of Luján de Cuyo so special to work in?
A: For me there are three very important factors that define Luján de Cuyo: The dry, warm climate with fresh nights; very poor alluvial soils and old vineyards, mainly planted with Malbec, that have achieved excellent quality consistently through the years.
Q: If you were planning to make a new single plot wine, which part of your vineyard would you choose and why?
A: I would choose a small parcel where the natural balance of the vine and its production reflects colour, flavour and intense aroma that mirrors my imagination of the wine I´m desiring to drink.
Q: Who was your greatest influence when learning winemaking?
A: The biggest influence was from my family, because for several generations the grape and winemaking has been our way of life and livelihood.
Why is Malbec World Day celebrated on April 17th?
The origin of Malbec can be found in the southwest of France, known a Cot in the appellation of Cahors, where winemaking dates back to the Roman empire. Malbec Argentino arrived in Argentina in 1853, brought by Michel Aimé Pouget, a French agronomist who was hire to carry out the management of the Agricultural Quinta de Mendoza. Pouget proposed new grape varieties as a means to enhancing Argentina’s wine industry, and it was on this day that the project was proposed for legislation in the Province of Mendoza.
In the late nineteenth century with the help of Italian and French immigrants, the wine industry in Argentina grew exponentially and with it Malbec, which quickly adapted to the various terroirs giving even better results than in its region of origin.
The 17th April is now recognized as the symbolic date that marked the transformation of Argentina’s wine industry and now the Malbec grape is renowned as the flagship grape of Argentina.