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VIP Wines Newsletter. For International and local wine makers, wine agents, and wine connoisseurs

The Wine

94 points - Carolyn Evans Hammond, Wine Critic, Toronto Star

"This stunningly good Malbec just hit shelves Sept. 17 and punches way above its weight with a powerful hit of dark fruit that resonates with serious complexity without compromising finesse. It starts with sweet black cherry then reveals layers of charcoal, dark salted chocolate, anise, dried oregano, black licorice, granite, white pepper and finely finely grained tannins that leave a powdery texture on the palate. Snap it up." - Carolyn Evans Hammond

93 points - Matt Steeves, Certified Sommelier

"Wow, what a delicious, robust and elegant single vineyard expression of Mendoza Malbec. The grapes were hand harvested from their Paraje Altamira vineyard at an elevation of over 1km. Rich dark berries, plum, pepper, cacao, underbrush, leather, and cedar on the nose and finish. This wine was ranked #4 in the world by Wine Enthusiast in 2014. An impressive Malbec that is showing great now and will only gain further complexity over the next decade and beyond. Tasted October 2016. 93 points." - Matt Steeves

94 points - Wine Enthusiast

“This gorgeous Malbec gets it right. Compact, minerally aromas of blackberry are deep and a bit feral. The palate is juicy and pulses with ribald berry fruit and acidity. Blackberry flavors are beefy, salty and a touch roasted, while the finish is baked, rich and perfectly oaked. Drink through 2020.” Editors’ Choice —M.S.


4.5 stars (out of 5) - Vic Haradine, winecurrent.com critic


“A lifted nose of piquant spice, dark berry fruit and black licorice dazzle the senses. It rolls over the palate in stunning fashion—well-textured, endless waves of black currant, kirsch liqueur and dark bittersweet chocolate coat the palate persisting through the delectable finish and aftertaste. It’s balanced, structured, dense and intense with persistent purity of fruit and touches of elegance. My highest compliments – it flirted with 5 stars and was very tough to split.”

WineCurrent.com August 28 issue

The Background

David was a respected journalist for Reuters UK and Britain’s Independent Television News covering wars in the Middle East (RTS Award for reporting from Beirut), the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as reporting from Africa, South America, Spain, Italy and Washington D.C.  Interestingly, he reported extensively from Canada in the 1990s, especially election of Chretien, Quebec referendum, and G7 summits

Later he was personally asked by Kofi Annan  to be the Deputy Director for the United Nations Information Centre   in Washington liaising with the United States Congress. Afterwards he became Special advisor to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon.


Along the way David also managed to spend time teaching  journalism as a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Michigan and Maryland, focusing on the role of the foreign correspondent influencing foreign policy. He also wrote two books, one on Robert Mugabe, the other a study of Israel's relationship with the Palestinians. Little wonder he was named by the Telegraph (UK) as one of the top 40 most influential British people working in the USA. Another point, David’s reporting excellence was publicly recognized with awards from Uk’s  Royal TV Society as well as the New York TV Festival.

A Love of International Journalism turns into a Love of Wine, Family & Country
A move to Argentina to raise a family and produce internationally acclaimed wines
is a dream come true for David and Sonia Smith.

Sonia who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina studied at Cambridge University. Her journalism career led to BBC, then Independent Television News and later to Washington D.C. as a presenter on CNN (Sonia Ruseler). Reaching back to her roots she bought a small vineyard in Mendoza, prompted by her appreciation and knowledge of wine. She had studied at the Court of Master Sommeliers, to become a certified sommelier. And never one to do things in half measure she then immersed herself in a Wine MBA program at the Bordeaux Ecole de

Management, and received the highest mark in the Advanced Certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) of London. She became the Director of the Champagne Bureau in the United States, and of the Center for Wine Origins, promoting the wine regions of Champagne, Port and Jerez in the United States, and defending their geographical indications. 


Incidentally, David even with his high pressure diplomatic pressures also became a Certified Sommelier of the Court of Master Sommeliers, and then studied to receive an Advanced Certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) of London.

When David was appointed Director of United Nations Information Centre in Buenos Aires, he and Sonia knew it was time to move themselves and their two youngest children to Argentina and seriously pursue their wine dreams.

As fortune would have it, their property was near Bodega Catena Zapata and they became friends with family of Nicolas Catena, a pioneer in modern day winemaking in Argentina. The relationship is such that Nicolas’ very respected winemaker, Ale Vigil, directs the making of SonVida wines.

Sonia and David are totally involved in the operating of their hand-harvested single vineyard, which is eloquently described in David’s book, Dream On (published in UK 2010). The story of how they built a vineyard from scratch.


Sonia and David are living proof that Dreams can come true for those willing to dedicate talent and hard work to achieve their goals.

Hand-harvesting requires a big team since it is done in a day and a half to

ensure the fruit is picked at optimal ripeness

The Reviews

How did two newcomers in the wine business produce the 4th Best Wine in the World?

Interestingly enough it was quite simple…daring to undertake fulfilling a dream

#4 in Wine Enthusiasts magazine Top 100 Wines in the World 2014

SonVida Malbec


Vintages Release


110 cases

LCBO # 458240