Anuva Vinos founder Daniel Karlin speaks of his first Malbec as if it were a high school kiss. “I fell in love with Doña Paula, a 2004 Malbec. Wow, it completely blew me away.”
The Portland native has been providing limited production wines to the US, Europe and locals for the last two years.
Through his online store, a wine club and private tastings, Anuva Vinos proffers boutique wine beyond the valleys of Mendoza. “I’d like to pave the way for small production Argentine wine makers – the guys people don’t know about,” Karlin said. Pinot Noir producer Mudai, for example, often creates only 3,500 bottles a season. The biggest producer for Anuva Vinos, Hom, markets 15,000 bottles a year. “There are so many wines that usually won’t make it back to Europe or the States.” So Karlin has intervened to make sure they do.
Karlin’s idea to market fine wines came during a trip to Mendoza in 2006. Karlin, then director of student exchange programme International Experience, arrived in wine country before his students to taste on his own. Sommelier Leandro Martinez handed Karlin a glass of the lemony Doña Paula, and there was an instant connection.
“I pretty much knew right away that I wanted to start a wine club,” Karlin said. He said the taste and experience of sipping Malbec in Mendoza was more complex than others he’d had. Shortly after, he gave up his role with the student exchange organisation to make room for his love of wine.
Thus far, his business is paving the way for a new consciousness that eschews rigid food and wine parings. “If you want to have white wine with a steak, have white wine with a steak, if you want a red wine with seafood, why not?” Karlin’s flexibility goes hand in hand with his multifarious wine selection – everything from sparkling whites to reserve blends. All of which, can be sampled during Anuva’s private tastings.
The selection of Torrontés, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon offered at the tastings are among some of Anuva’s best. After tasting over 400 wines Karlin made sure a few of his favourites, a smoky Cavagnaro Reserve Malbec 2004 and a fruity Don Juan blend 2004, made the list. The full-bodied reserve Malbec offered at each tasting is often the most popular. Guests can enjoy evening tastings at Janio Restaurant, Piegari Piazza or Karlin’s private residence. For a more intimate environment, take advantage of this last offer, which also provides a chance to see a wine connoisseur in his element.
Part of Karlin’s charm is the way in which he views the parallel between wine drinkers and their vino. “Wine is just as complicated and interesting as people. There are so many characteristics that make a wine great or that make a person interesting. When you put them together you discover so much depth.”
Karlin’s philosophy about drinking wine emphasises the communal nature of the art. “Why does a bottle of wine pour four glasses?” he asked rhetorically. “Because it’s meant to be shared.” According to Karlin, wine acts as a ‘facilitator of conversation’, bringing people closer together.
The beauty of Anuva Vinos is the ease with which experts and novices alike can enjoy sophisticated yet hard to find wines in good company. The gems Karlin has discovered make clients feel like they’ve been handed a treasure trove of good luck. And the money you’ll save by not going to Mendoza is worth spending on a few savoury glasses of Argentina’s best wine.