On this occasion, we decided to sit down to have a very interesting wine talk with our winemaker from Viñedo San Miguel, Alessio Bellafiore. If you are a lover of the culture that surrounds wine, you will surely enjoy this interview.
Alessio is Italian and his history in Mexico has been very significant. Achievements at Bodega Viñedo San Miguel have gained him recognitions worldwide.
Alessio, how did you start in the world of wine?
A.B. My grandfather produced wine in Sicily. I was lucky to discover that it was my passion at 18 and I never left it, it changed my life … I think I had it in my blood …
What is a winemaker to you?
A.B. For me the winemaker is many things, it would be very difficult to limit it with some definition. I find many similarities with artists, but a winemaker is also a chemist and a biologist … maybe he is like a “dad” who has to understand the potential of his “children” and help them exalt the full potential of their characteristics.
Where did you start your oenological career?
A.B. My career began at the university and with winemakers of Castelli Romani for seasons. Then two international experiences followed: Adelaide, in Australia and Mendoza in Argentina. In 2007, I started working at Marchesi Antinori, a family that has been producing grapes and wines for more than 630 years. I was with them for 10 years working with several projects.
What qualities should a winemaker have?
A.B. I believe they should have several qualities: ethics, sensory and emotional sensitivity, and of course mastery of the technique. Personally I also believe that he has to be a wine grower!
What is the hardest part of being a winemaker?
A.B. I believe that patience is not one of my virtues hahaha. I love that sensory part of seeing the future potential of grapes and wines, but I find it difficult to wait to see the results.
What is the most significant part of your job?
A.B. I want to give emotions and an create experience. Wine is something magical, from its processes to its effects and I love being part of this magic.
Does wine have any secrets?
A.B. No. It creates itself, the sensitivity of understanding it is in us.
What influences make the wine?
A.B. Depending on the level but personally I think it’s the details …
What characteristics define your wines?
A.B. Structured, balanced and elegant.
What varieties (styles) of wine are produced in the VSM Winery?
A.B. We currently have a white wine that is a Blend of three varieties with a percentage aged in barrels for 6 months. We have a rosé that’s very fragrant and round. Our Malbec is becoming very emblematic of Viñedo San Miguel. We also have a complex Blend and Blend Reserva with 5 grape varietals. We can talk a lot about those that have received international medals!
Do you make wine according to your personal tastes?
A.B. The truth is that I think that when creating them … you can’t not like them … that’s not taste, it’s love …
What is the current status of the wines of Viñedo San Miguel?
A.B. They are having a lot of success and acceptance. Almost all with important medals in international competitions!
What is the future of Viñedo San Miguel wine beyond our Mexican borders?
A.B. I believe that this success in the Brussels World Contest is a watershed in the winemaking history of Mexico, without a doubt, it places us in the presence of the whole world for the good that we are making wines.
What do you give more importance to when buying a wine?
A.B. Quality and price. Quality includes aesthetics.
What pairing recommendations would you have to accompany the wines produced in Viñedos San Miguel?
A.B. My goal would be to have a wine for each dish, which is ambitious since we have 10 labels! Some can accompany you from the appetizer to the dessert. Ideally we start a white or rosé wine with seafood and then the drink the red wines with cheeses, cold meats, steaks and moles.
What challenges does Viñedos San Miguel have in the short and medium term?
A.B. Produce important wines, which compete worldwide, contribute to Mexico’s wine growth and be part of the country’s history.