A few years ago, I received an unexpected inquiry via LinkedIn. It read something to the nature of, “My name is Nate. We used to work together, although we never met as we were in different offices. I’m buying a vineyard in Argentina and would love to chat with you about your experience owning a winery”. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by this type of inquiry?! A week or so later we hopped on a call together and I shared stories from my time owning a winery, but more importantly I learned about three gents with a love of Argentinian Malbec who were doing something that was bold, brazen, and most importantly driven by passion.
Nate and I kept in touch, chatting every 6-8 months. With each conversation, I was finding myself more and more drawn in to what they were doing. It is every winemaker’s dream to own their own vineyard. To have the ability from start to finish to make major decisions that drastically impact your wine. Decisions like how the vines are trained, irrigation style, and tonnage per acre. These were all the things that Nate was clearly interested in with his endeavor. He was leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of producing a beautiful wine with character and a unique story.
In March 2014, Nate and I finally had the chance to meet in person, along with one of the other partners in the winery, which had gained a name – Rule of Three. We gathered on a Thursday evening at RN74 in Seattle, WA and spent the next 4 hours chatting about all things wine. From what other varietals were intriguing ideas for growing in Argentina to the different methods of vineyard layout. I love geeking out on anything wine, especially winery and vineyard operations. So when I find others who enjoy similar discussion points, it makes for an amazing evening. The best part of the conversation came near the end of the evening when they let me know that they’d be back in Seattle soon with a bottle of their first vintage to share with me. I insisted on setting a date right then to make sure that it happened.
A few weeks later it was tasting time. Settled in at Miller’s Guild with what can only be described as the biggest freakin’ steak I’ve ever seen in front of me, the Rule of Three 2012 Malbec was opened. It did not disappoint. I tasted bold notes of sun-warmed blackberry, rich leather, hints of oak that complimented while not overpowering the fruit.
The wine is a wonderful example of what is possible when careful attention is given to letting nature be as big a part as possible in the final product. A simple sounding, but honestly terrifying and challenging thing to do. The Rule of Three 2012 Malbec lets the terroir of Mendoza shine through.
So what’s next for Rule of Three? There were discussions of planting Cabernet Franc or Syrah. Two varietals less frequently found from Argentina, but grow wonderfully there. There was mention of a slow, but steady increase in production (The initial 2012 Malbec was a tiny production of 75 cases – that’s only 900 bottles!), but making sure to keep things at a size that will allow them to maintain the focus on the land and terroir-driven nature of their wine. Many additional changes beyond these are certain to come, and I’m excited to have built a relationship with this awesome group of guys doing something unique and beautiful with wine in Argentina. Rarely does one have the opportunity to say they knew a winery before it became a big name in the cult world of wine. With an amazing first wine, Rule of Three sets a high bar on what it means to make a terroir driven wine in Mendoza, Argentina. I’m excited to be along on the ride.