With the current buzz surrounding Argentina’s flagship wine, it seems the world is going mad for Malbec. But what exactly is it that has caught the imagination of wine lovers and journalists alike?
Offering amazing quality and great value for money, Argentinian wines are rooted in a strong tradition of large-scale production – far more than other New World nations. Argentina boasts many generations of growing expertise, long established vineyards and a unique array of grape varieties. Add growing conditions that combine a dry, sunny climate with cooler high-altitude air, and the result is an incredible depth of styles, where power and weight meet extraordinary aromatic purity.
Grape varieties and styles
Argentina’s best Malbecs – deeply coloured, violet scented, with fleshy fruit and velvety tannins – offer complexity to rival fine wines from anywhere in the world. Ricardo Santos (£9.99 or £7.49 when you buy 2 bottles*) who pioneered the first exports of Malbec over 30 years ago, continues to produce a definitive single vineyard Malbec.
High in the Andes, Colomé Estate’s modern blend offers breathtaking purity with a cherry scented nose and a lick of vanilla oak on the finish. By contrast, and a refreshing change from the norm, Cavas de Weinert’s Carrascal (£6.99 or £5.49 when you buy 2 bottles*) is an old-fashioned, complex and wonderfully eccentric Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend.
Look beyond Malbec and you’ll be delighted to discover Torrontes. Argentina’s own unique white has a rich floral perfume, yet is crisp and as light as a feather. Two benchmark examples are Crios Torrontes (£7.99 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*), with fresh yet intense citrus blossom notes and Mauricio Lorca Torrontes (£7.49 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles*), which shows headier jasmine and guava characters.
Did you know? At a recent wine competition in Argentina, more gold medals were awarded to Torrontes than to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc combined!
Buyer’s Pick, Camilla Bordewich
Finca Flichman 2008 Gestos Malbec
(£6.99 or £5.49 when you buy 2 bottles*)
A superb Malbec uniting the best qualities of two vineyards at different altitudes. Grapes grown at 1100m provide aromatics, fresh acidity and a touch of nerviness. At 700m, the lower vines introduce dense plummy fruit and soft tannins.
*All prices valid until 29th October 2009