Argentinian wine: world-class wine players

09 August, 2018

“In Argentina we have planted selections of Malbec that date back to France in the 19th century, before phylloxera. In Europe these Malbec plant populations have been lost. I think this diversity of Malbec plant selections and the mountain climate (at 4,000-5,000ft elevation) are the secret to Argentine Malbec’s success in the world.

Catena has launched a label for Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino that pays tribute to the variety’s history.

She says: “Four female figures embody different landmarks. Eleanor of Aquitaine represents the birth of Malbec. She is a strong, Old World presence, lingering at the bridge in Cahors, where Malbec came into its own. Next, the immigrant symbolises the movement to the New World and the unknown explorers and adventurers who connected Europe with the Americas. Phylloxera personifies the death of Malbec in the Old World, which enabled its rebirth in the New. Finally, there is Bodega Catena Zapata, represented by Adrianna Catena, who depicts birth, earth, and motherhood, sharing the riches of the New World.

Today, the company claims to lead the high-altitude renaissance in Argentina. “We are returning Malbec to the sky, where it belongs,” says Catena.


Says Zuccardi: “I believe the future will be based on our ability to work the vineyards, more specifically by differentiating the micro-regions. This will give us the true identity of a place and the possibility to elaborate wines that tell the story of this place, but also that of the producers. I have no doubts that wine is the perfect combination between place and people, or people and place.”

Ortiz concludes: “Our cost for producing high-quality wines is still very competitive. Asia is a new, growing market that certainly will start impacting our exports.”

“The industry has been reinventing itself, mostly through smaller producers focused on innovation and terroir exploration,” says Bloise. “Now we know the potential for very interesting wines of very talented soils is there. We only need to mature our understanding to express this potential in ever-more fascinating wines.”

Morton-Small says what is needed is: “More sub-regional and site exploration, yielding terroir-focused wines, while continuing to deliver exceptional value for money at every price point.”

Calderon says, optimistically: “After two challenging years production-wise, starting with an outstanding 2018 vintage, we are expecting Argentina to gain more savvy consumers, surprising them with the quality, style and price of its wines.”

“The future for Argentinian wines globally is very promising,” adds Catena. “There is a great interest in and recognition of Malbec by the trade and also consumers. It is probably due to its unique taste, structured yet soft, elegant, especially when it comes from high-altitude vineyards. Malbec is one of the grape varieties with the most romantic story, the epic tale of the noble Malbec grape is like no other.” (See box.)

Vegetti says: “The future for Argentina is related to commercialisation of varieties other than Malbec in different terroirs all across the wine regions, from the north to Patagonia in the south. At Gauchezco we have diversified our offerings with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, and are producing single vineyard Malbecs from across our vineyards.”

Jump sums up: “In the 15 years I have been working with Argentinian wines, the industry has changed beyond recognition. The style and quality of the entire proposition has become world class.

“The industry has adapted itself into an internationally exportable product, capable of playing on the world stage and competing with the more established and experienced players. I see this momentum continuing in the same direction in the future.”

So no penalties, no own goals, there is only one way Argentina can go and that is with a positive attitude and forward passing and an achievable goal. So: ‘Don’t cry for Argentina (sorry, had to get that one in), the truth is, wine drinkers will never leave you.

‘All through your wild days, your mad existence, we kept the promise, don’t keep your distance…’

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