Argentinian Wine

10 December, 2012

Finca Alluvia Doña Paula - Gualtallary

Forbes says Finca Flichman has a “unique location in Barrancas at 700m above sea level”. The vineyards are said to be planted on the old Mendoza river-bed here and in Tupungato, at 1,100m, where the climatic conditions lend additional acidity and complexity to the wines.

Pretenders to the throne

But back to a more dispassionate view from Anne Forrest, the Laithwaites buyer. Argentina accounts for 5% of the company’s sales, outperforming the UK’s average. She says: “The Cabernet Sauvignons and a few Cabernet Francs I tasted are real pretenders to the throne and offer great value for money.

“Bonarda can be delicious and works wonderfully in blends with Malbec. Many of the best wines I tasted were moving away from over-reliance on new oak and where barrels were used it was more of their softening effect rather than imparting flavour from amazing ripe fruit which really shone through,” she says.

“Our customers also love Torrontes. The aromatic zing is really appealing to Sauvignon Blanc lovers and it is wonderful with spicy food. 

“We are listing a new 100% Torrontes called Ascención, which is from Bodegas Amalaya and comes from vineyards between 1,700m 2,500m in Salta,” says Forrest.

She sees Argentina in a “phase of exploration and experimentation”. Other than possibly Mendoza, which accounts for more than 60% of Argentina’s wine production, other regions are virtually unknown to mainstream wine drinkers.

“I tasted some wonderful new projects from small areas of the Uco valley, such as Altamira and Vista Flores where the limestone soil brings wonderful texture to the final wines.

“My view is that the whole of this research and focus on small areas is absolutely vital to drive quality and interest up. Wineries must not lose sight of the fact that they already have a fantastic brand in Malbec with a high quality and value perception around the world.”

Apart from the perennial problem of fluctuating exchange rates, the only other major problem Argentina faces is inflation which, according to both Maidment and Forrest, is running at between 20 and 25%. That drives up the cost of dry goods, deters investment and pushes up prices. But, at the moment the love affair with Malbec, particularly in the US, continues apace.

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


Tess Posthumus

The Great Tipping Debate

Tipping can be a difficult subject in the bar industry. As a bar owner, bartender and regular consumer, I see it from every perspective and it can be tricky to get right.