Amazing Wines For Valentine's Day
A close-up of the snow-capped Andes from the Monasterio Vineyards (Photo: Per Se Vines)

It is widely accepted that red wine is a powerful aphrodisiac with its antioxidant properties an added incentive for a romantic evening, especially when paired with chocolate. When it comes to pairing wine for Valentine's Day, try to match both the wine's body and flavour. Red wine generally goes best with red meat, pork as well as rich chocolates and cheeses. White wine matches with more delicate fish, chicken and pasta with white sauce, but if you prefer white wine and are serving steak, a robust Chardonnay or Riesling of an older vintage will still work. Similarly, a mellow Pinot Noir or other low-tannin wine will expertly complement chicken, fish or even white-sauced pasta. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, Thursday Food introduces you to five decadent red and white varietals from Argentina's PerSe Vines located in Gualtallary.

PerSe, which launched with the 2012 vintage, is a small, vineyard-based project of 20,000 bottles that are divided into two separate labels: PerSe and Inseparable. All the wines are derived from the same vineyard which is found in one of the most promising wine regions in South America: Uco Valley's Gualtallary. The bodega was founded by good friends Edy (Eduardo) Del Popolo and David Bonomi who met in 1995 while working at the same winery, before moving on to work with various other wineries separately, developing their viticultural careers. A decade later in 2005 their paths would cross again when Edy, as then chief winemaker for Doña Paula, hired David, Norton's head winemaker at the time, to join him as a winemaker. Working for big companies like Doña Paula and Norton led them to not only understand the reality of the Argentine terroirs, but also the reality of producing more commercial wines. It was this realisation, along with the knowledge of the potential that existed in the best sites, that led to them starting their own project and PerSe Vines was born. With the intention of making pure mountain wines, they began their journey by planting their vines on land they farm in conjunction with the monks of the Monasterio del Cristo Orante.

PerSe is based in the relatively new sub appellation of the Uco Valley called Gualtallary that is a potential GI comprising 2,300 hectares of vineyards, approximately 8.5 per cent of the 28,000 hectares in the entire Uco Valley region. Gualtallary's vineyards range from 1,200-1,600 metres in altitude, lending itself to a huge climatic variation which sees it going from Winkler 1 to 3, a rarity in wine-producing countries. The Winkler Index, also called the Winkler Scale or Winkler Regions, is a technique used to classify the climate of wine growing regions based on heat summation or GDD (growing degree-days). GDD are a measure of heat accumulation used by horticulturists, gardeners, along with farmers to predict plant and animal development rates such as the date that a flower will bloom, an insect will emerge from dormancy, or a crop will reach maturity. In the system, which was developed at the University of California, Davis by AJ Winkler and Maynard Amerine, geographical areas are divided into five climate regions based on temperature converted to GDD, commonly known as Regions I–V. Gualtallary's five sub-regions based on climate and soils are Gualtallary Río, La Vencedora, Albo, Monasterio and Las Tunas.

The high altitude Monasterio vineyard of PerSe has a similar climate to Alsace or Champagne in France, but other vineyards a mere 11 km away have a climate similar to Bordeaux. Soil composition is also important here as the amount of calcium carbonate in the soils plays an important factor in the winemaking operations. Gualtallary has soils that are stony with sand and loam along with varying levels of calcareous deposits, and their vineyards are located where the calcium carbonate concentrations are the highest . The PerSe Monasterio vineyards are planted at almost 1,500 metres elevation and divided into two sections: one is classic Gualtallary, consisting of calcareous sands as well as gravels, and used to make the Inseparable label. On the other hand, the PerSe wines come from different parcels on the top of the hills, with completely different soils, and extremely high levels of calcium carbonate. In Gualtallary, the average level of calcium carbonate in the soils is 10-12 per cent (10-12 g/100 g soil, but Monasterio has 48 per cent which is an almost pure calcareous soil or chalk.

Here are five outstanding wines from PerSe Vines, three of which were listed by Descorchados among the Best Reds of the Year for 2022:

Inseparable 2018 is the first vintage of this Malbec wine which is described as fresh, pure and quite supple with juicy cherry and plum fruit. It is very red fruit in character as well as being bright and juicy with some elegance. On the finish are bright, fresh fruit with a bit of crunch which earned it a score of 92/100.

Volare del Camino, a 100 per cent Malbec, has a brooding nose of sweet blackberry, black cherry fruit, hints of smoke and spice, along with lovely floral notes. The palate has amazing concentration and freshness with compact structure and a chalky, mineral edge to the compact fruit. This lovely intense yet supple wine earned 95/100 and was among the Best Reds of the Year.

PerSe La Craie is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Malbec that has been co-fermented and harvested together. Brooding gravelly on the nose with a hint of green, some floral black cherry notes, and supple blackcurrant. Good concentration and elegance with good acidity and structure, earning for itself 95/100 along with a place among the Best reds of the Year.

PerSe Jubileus is another 100 per cent Malbec that is fresh, floral and brooding with lovely black cherry and red cherry fruit. This wine has a taut structure and good acidity, showing precision and a lovely grainy chalky edge as well as notes of green apple and even some citrus peel. It's ripe, focused and fresh, scoring 96/100 as well as a selection among the Best Reds of the Year.

Volare de Flor N/V is a 97 point luxury Chardonnay that is yellow in colour with beautiful nuances. It has great complexity on the nose with intense, rancid aromas of green walnuts, almond's green cap and some spices. In the mouth it has ample, generous volume combined with great acidity. This wine is intense with a dry, salty, persistent finish.

Whichever you choose, be it red, white or both, be sure to make February 14, 2023 your most romantic experience ever, with the right wine selection. Happy Valentine's Day from Thursday Food!

A section of the Monasterio del Cristo Orante (Photo: Per Se Vines)
Per Se Monasterio vineyard showing where each wine originates from. (Photo: Per Se Vines)
Monasterio vineyard during winter (Photo: Per Se Vines)
The Monasterio vineyards at Gualtallary (Photo: Per Se Vines)
Vines laden with grapes ready for harvest. (Photo: Per Se Vines)
Volare del Camino Malbec (Photo: Per Se Vines)
Volare de Flor NV Chardonnay (Photo: Per Se Vines)
PerSe La Craie Red Blend 2018 (Photo: Per Se Vines)
PerSe Inseparable Malbec 2018 (Photo: Per Se Vines)
PerSe Jubileus (Photo: Per Se Vines)
Andre Reid

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy