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Harvesting by handIt’s easy to characterise New World wines as industrialised and somewhat impersonal. Buyer Camilla Bordewich picks out some excellent wines from the Mendoza region that show why this isn’t always the case.

The vineyards around Mendoza are a patchwork of family-owned plantings passed from generation to generation, in some cases for centuries. Operating on this smaller scale allows each vineyard to focus keenly on the details; a meticulousness that invariably shows through in wines of great quality and character.

Pablo and Paula PizzellaLa Posta Vineyards source grapes from small, carefully-tended Mendoza vineyards, producing wines that showcase the merits of each site. Paula and Pablo Pizzella’s 10 hectares of cool-climate Malbec, planted high in the Uco Valley, is a perfect example. High-altitude vineyards are hard work to maintain, so it certainly helps that both Paula and Pablo are PE teachers. The fruit of their labour is a superbly  balanced Malbec showing creamy raspberry fruit with wonderful mocha and cake-spice notes, from ageing in top-quality French oak.

Vineyards in the AndesEstela Armando’s Bonarda vineyard is a potted history of Mendoza winemaking in itself. Her great grandfather arrived from Italy in 1886, planted his first vineyards the following year and took the wines he had made by mule-train to sell to the workers building the Trans-Andean railroad. The vines used to make this stunning Bonarda are nearly 50 years old, producing a fragrant nose of black cherry, fresh herbs and cedar. On the palate, rich cherry fruit mingles with chocolate and black pepper notes.

Roberto de la Mota and his vineyard teamWhilst La Posta wines celebrate the family growers, at the opposite end of the spectrum is our new Mendel Malbec, from Argentina’s most revered winemaker, Roberto de la Mota. He’s recently become a partner in the Mendel vineyards; 18 hectares of Malbec and Cabernet planted 80 years ago in one of Mendoza’s finest terroirs. The land’s low vigour and high mineral content result in wines with real finesse and longevity, and the 2008 is no exception. An intense, vibrant black plum, liquorice and floral nose leads to a palate of cherry and plum fruit, exquisitely balanced by smooth tannins and good acidity.

John and Chantal Du MonceauAnother very new project, Bodega Atamisque, brings a touch of France to Argentina. This estancia, with 80 hectares of vines planted at 1,300 metres, now belongs to John du Monceau and his wife Chantal, granddaughter of a Burgundy winemaker. The mix of French savoir faire, state-of-the-art techniques and the very best French oak barriques brings out the amazing qualities of the region’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. These are wines with fragrance, style and real complexity, plus a  surprisingly Burgundian character.

La Posta Malbec 2008, Pizzella Family Vineyard, Uco Valley NewLa Posta Malbec 2008, Pizzella Family Vineyard, Uco Valley New!

9.99 or 7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

La Posta Bonarda 2008, Estela Armando’s Vineyard, Mendoza NewLa Posta Bonarda 2008, Estela Armando’s Vineyard, Mendoza New!

8.99 or 6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Mendel Malbec 2008, Mendoza New!*Mendel Malbec 2008, Mendoza New!*

17.99 or 14.99 when you buy 2 bottles

Catalpa Chardonnay 2009, Atamisque New!Catalpa Chardonnay 2009, Atamisque New!

11.99 or 9.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Catalpa Pinot Noir 2009, Atamisque New!Catalpa Pinot Noir 2009, Atamisque New!

11.99 or 9.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

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*All prices valid until 1st November 2010 unless otherwise stated. (Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control, shipping of these new wines has been delayed from Argentina. We anticipate that they will arrive in store by the end of September.)