Not being a football fan but having lived in England for a number of years now, I am vaguely familiar with the phrase “hand of God”. When I spotted a bottle of the Hand of God red wine at the recent American winebloggers conference in Virginia, it definitely caught my attention.
It also helped that the smiling wine maker, American John Steanberg was attached to said bottle and joyfully pouring it out. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of this wine that will soon be hitting the marketplace.
The Hand of God winery is a joint effort between John and Santiago Acheval, one of Argentina’s leading winemakers.
The two met while at Stanford University grad school and decided they wanted to make a uniquely Argentine wine. What better place to do it then in the best spot in Argentina to grow wine, Mendoza? They believe that Mendoza is truly touched by the hand of God: blessed with excellent growing conditions, dry, desert climate, no pests and the cold, clear, unpolluted waters that rush down from the Andes Mountain glaciers.
John was at the conference as a citizen blogger but he also had brought along the very first vintage from the winery, the Hand of God 2010 red. A blend of Malbec, Syrah and Petit Verdot, this was a stonker of a wine. A rich, intense drink, it was an Argentine Malbec alright, but it had a subtlety about it that can sometimes be missing from those Latin American blockbusters. I would describe it as an elegant wine and one that you could revist again and again.
I tried it several times over the evening and each time, I found something new in the wine. At times, the blueberries and ripe red fruits of the wine jumped out at me and other times, a clear minerality seemed to surface from the bottom of the glass.
I was really digging this wine and I think that John and Santiago have definitely struck gold with their choice of location. A full and intense wine with lingering complexity and depth, this wine would be a welcome addition to my cellar. Although it’s young, I can see it developing into a great wine. At least, I hope so.
This wine is not yet available; they don’t have a label yet nor is there a price tag but it should be released next year. I will certainly keep my eyes open and hope that those greedy Americans don’t get all of its allocation.