Bodega Trivento and the Evolving Identity of Argentina’s Wine

In the business of wine, once a region establishes an identity, it can be hard for producers to venture past that boundary. But with Bodega Trivento (“Trivento”), one of Argentina’s most successful single varietal Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon producers, they seem to be able to iteratively innovate their wine offering without discarding their advantage.

Founded in 1996, Trivento owns 12 vineyards across Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley in Mendoza (totaling over 1,200 ha or 3,000 acres under vine), many of which with vine ages over 80 years. With their advantage in vineyard and grape quality, Trivento has capitalized on Malbec’s popularity over the years, becoming a top three Malbec brand in the US. But the winemaking team consisting of German di Cesare, Maximiliano Ortiz, and Magdalena Viani, has steadily pushed the boundaries of what defines Argentinian wine.

Their Reserve White Malbec, first produced in 2019, is the first of its kind. Winemaker Magdalena Viani recently spoke and shared the challenges of creating this unique wine. Traditionally, Malbec has never been made into a white wine, meaning there was no benchmark or experiences to lean on. The team ultimately achieved a desired flavor profile by picking the grapes in late January while they haven’t fully ripened yet (harvesting in Argentina usually begins in March). Furthermore, additional oxygen was incorporated during fermentation to remove any pigmentation from the pressing; the wine strikes a remarkable balance between high acid and rich mouthfeel, with notes of green apple and tropical lychee, and appears crystal clear like water. 

The success of the white Malbec doesn’t mean the team has lessened their attention on their more conventional wines. The 2021 Golden Reserve Malbec, made with grapes exclusively from Lujan de Cuyo, reminds me of the prototypical Argentinian wine – great acid, soft tannin structure, notes of intense raspberry and black cherries, and some hints of violet and dark chocolate. Approachable and versatile,  the wine has the capacity to be cellared, and can be served with or without food. 

It is very impressive for a successful winery like Trivento, who makes over three million cases a year, to experiment with unconventional wines in an effort to try and create a new category. This reflects their  admirable commitment to continuously deepen their understanding of their vineyards, grapes, and wine. As Magdalena Viani puts it, “Each year as I grow, my knowledge of Mendoza and Argentina compounds to become more thorough and nuanced.”

(Magdalenda Viani)