A founding member of Argentine rock band Serú Girán, a Grammy-award winner, and now 99 James Suckling points for his first blend: Pedro Aznar’s talents seemingly know no boundaries. The singer-songwriter’s winemaking partner-in-crime? None other than Marcelo Pelleriti from Monteviejo, the first Argentine enologist to score 100 Parker points for his Château La Violette 2010 produced in Pomerol. As Abremundos, to date the duo has created five wines that have aficionados cheering as loudly – though possibly in a more composed way – as Pedro’s musical fans. Here, the musician – who, in his thirst for knowledge, graduated as a sommelier from the class of 2014 from CAVE wine school in Buenos Aires together with this writer – and the winemaker talk about their enological collaboration, Abremundos.
How did you meet?
Marcelo Pelleriti (MP): One magical day, I received a call from Buenos Aires from a sommelier friend who asked me if I could meet Pedro at my winery. Well, I thought it was an aural illusion, but no, they asked again it and I said YES immediately, when, where should I pick him up…
I went to meet him with my whole family, my wife and kids, and we traveled packed into the back of the truck to the bodega, me trying to make sure he was comfortable, trying to calm my kids’ energy, but Pedro was a gentleman.
Pedro Aznar (PA): I had asked about visiting some wineries to do some pairings. But instead of simply visiting a bodega, I was pointed in Marcelo’s direction, given that he is very special in the world of wine and also a musician. Marcelo took me to Monteviejo winery, showed me vines and the land, then asked if I’d like to make a blend with him.
It had been a dream of mine for years to have a vineyard or to make wine in some capacity, but I’d never found the right opportunity. And, given that the stars lined up and the conditions were right, we now have two hectares close to the entrance of The Vines of Mendoza in Uco Valley.
MP: We had lunch at the winery, obviously we drank a few bottles but we had to keep on track because he had to get back to Mendoza to play that night. But I couldn’t resist proposing the same composition to Pedro that I ask all artists who visit the winery: to make a blend using the best plots I’ve got and then gifting them a barrel of it.
I saw a light in Pedro’s eyes that he’d fallen into an incredible world. He loved the idea, he started making his blend, he asked, he wrote things down, he couldn’t stop smelling aromas and sensing textures… a creator was born.
That was when a one-way street was born and Página 1, a great wine, was also born: and to close that story, it was given 99 points by James Suckling. Not a bad start, right?
PA: Thanks to that alchemy, and him giving me a whole barrel to call my own, I ended up falling in love with wine. Marvelous.
You received 99 points for your first wine, Página 1 2011, a cabernet franc-malbec blend. Besides obtaining 100 points, how do you top that?
PA: With consistency. The most difficult thing in any venture is obtaining a standard in continuous quality. But both Marcel and I are very focused on that and we’re both dedicated to the project with the same passion and dedication as we were on day one.
MP: I’m a fan of attention to detail, and if someone says that a certain part of the process isn’t necessary, well, I want them to show me that. If we want to play in the first division, you have to add details to reach that objective.
Pedro, are you a wine grower or sommelier in the project?
PA: I think I’m both. The work of a sommelier (which you know as a colleague) encompasses many fields and it gets richer every day given the speed at which the industry grows and matures. My work at Abremundos involves plenty of sommelier tasks as well as others that a bodeguero (winery owner) takes care of, such as sales, advertising, product development, design, and the company’s projections.
MP: Pedro isn’t just a sommelier, he’s a guy with the same sensitivity he uses to make music. However, it’s always a learning process, long hours tasting, long hours in the search of the perfect blend, a lot of time enjoying what we love so much, wine and music.
Do you need to be more disciplined in music or wine?
PA: I firmly believe in doing a job to the best of your ability. You have to be disciplined with respect to time management, consistency, dealing with problems that naturally arise in any business and it’s also necessary to be creative, intuitive and let yourself dream without measuring the level of difficulty. A combination of orderly work and a mind open to all possibilities is the secret to a good result.
What do the next three years hold for Abremundos?
MP: We’ve got a lot of forecasts! Growing our market, for example. We’re already in the U.S. market but it takes time to be in more states. We will also diversify with Mediterranean grapes, we want to have our own winery, new terroir, other countries. But, as with all viticultural projects, time and planning is necessary.
Have you made any music together?
MP: No!!! Compose with Pedro?? The great Pedro is unbeatable, his music is perfect and I’m a musical fan. In any case, music is imprinted on our wines, there are a lots of sharps that are flats and among the there are subtleties which we transmit through our wines.
Outside Argentina, where in the world would you like to make wine?
PA: All over… in Marlborough, New Zealand; Napa and Sonoma, California; Casablanca Valley, Chile; in Barossa, Australia. And in the Old World, Rioja, Provence and Tuscany. All regions that complement Uco Valley in Mendoza, a place I love which is where Abremundos is based, and is defining itself every day as one of the most prestigious wine-making centers in the world.