There’s a saying that many believe: things happen for a reason. Philanthropists and experienced climbers Tony Hartl and Alex Chang, along with children in Mendoza, Argentina, agree. Several years ago, as Hartl and Chang were poised to reach the summit of Argentina’s Aconcagua Mountain, Tony Hartl’s blood oxygen level plummeted and his lungs were in peril – high-altitude pulmonary edema was evident. Emergency evacuation, instead of achieving their noble goal, was imperative. As they slowly made the grueling descent, these two friends considered how this harrowing experience would impact their lives, their goals, their dreams for the future.
While on the road to recovery in Mendoza, Tony and Alex discovered, and learned to appreciate, the stunning land with beautiful vistas, the genuine hospitality of its people, and the simple, joyful life enjoyed by all who live there. They made a decision to re-evaluate their purpose for living and chose to remain in Argentina to “create the finest Malbec in the world.” Seed Wine was planted.
But that’s not all. With a “desire to give back to the people who’d welcomed them so warmly”, Tony and Alex wanted their business, Seed Wine, to return the favor. Of course, producing award winning wines for those who appreciate them was of extreme importance. But so was the idea of sharing the profits from each bottle sold to people who could benefit. Both feel that this philosophy of paying-it-forward isn’t just a charity endeavor or obligation in any way – it’s an important part of doing business.
With each bottle of Seed Wine sold, a child in Mendoza receives a new schoolbook. Seeds of education are planted for the future of the region. Seed Wine was built on the idea that a great wine can do more than just excite the taste buds of wine aficionados. Helping the community that has meant so much to the partners – and of course, the wine – was a natural choice.
Philanthropy done right? Absolutely. But so are their exceptional wines produced under the leadership of Giuseppe Franceschini, Winemaker. I was fortunate to receive, as samples, two wines for review.
Malbec aficionados will savor each sip of this noteworthy wine. Leaping from the glass were intense aromas of juicy black cherries, ripe blueberries, dark chocolate, tobacco, smoke, and vanilla. With mouthwatering acidity and firm tannins, broad flavors of plums and blueberries, tobacco and smoke, minerality and vanilla spice were tenacious; the luscious finish was endless.
Seed Wine 2014 Red Blend ($60) – Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Malbec (40%), and Cabernet Franc (10%) were cultivated in the Mendoza region. Because so much of the region is in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua, vineyards are located at some of the world’s highest vineyards elevations with a semi-arid desert climate. Again, irrigation is accomplished with canals containing snowmelt from the Andes. Winemaker Giuseppe Franceschini explains that “Mendoza is one of the most continental climates in the world, it’s a very extreme place, perfect for extreme wines. When you go to the limit, you are on the edge, and the result can be fabulous.” The Seed Wine 2014 Red Blend certainly is.
Refreshing aromas of strawberry compote, blueberries with a hint of smoke, baking spices, and vanilla were enticing. On the ever-so elegant palate, I found flavors of black cherries, blackberries, strawberries, and exotic spice that were framed with lively acidity and powerful tannic structure. Balanced and pure, with a mesmerizing finish, I realized that this is exactly what a red blend from Mendoza should be.
The story behind Seed Wine has a special place in my heart. As a former teacher of young children and now a wine writer and member of a philanthropic organization that provides services to children, I know the joy of a child as he or she opens a book to discover the magic within its covers. Whether that child is smiling at the illustrations, learning to read, or exploring something new, a book is a most appreciated gift, one that opens horizons and gives hope for the future.
And the extraordinary wines produced at this remarkable winery? With each sip of the wines tasted, I quietly thanked Tony Hartl and Alex Chang. Both are giving back more than they will ever know. With a purchase of a bottle from Seed Wine, you can, too.
Note: Selections from Seed Wine are available by allocation only, due to their limited production. Click here to be on the mailing list in order to receive your shipment.