What do you think of Argentinian wine?
Is it all mass produced supermarket plonk at 3 for £10? If that’s what you thought, you may find this very interesting……
The wine trade in New World countries has recently suffered horrendously at the hands of the big corporations producing ‘wine’ on a massive scale. These international brands are made in sterile factories where they add up to 40 different chemicals to their ‘wine’, because the chemicals are cheaper to produce than the grape juice! They spend next to nothing on the wine, cut every corner possible with regards to quality, then spend millions on marketing, building a brand to kid the British public that they’re enjoying a fashionable tipple. South Africa, California and Chile have all been victims of this con, and their quality wine trade has been hit hard and is only now recovering from the damage these frankly awful brands have caused.
Will it be the same for Argentina?
Well, if you buy your Argentinian wine in the supermarket and you pay less than £5, chances are you’ll think it’s terrible and will be put off Argentinian wine for good. However, if you go to a quality wine merchant and spend £10 upwards you’ll probably be drinking one of the best red wines you’ve had for ages. The fact is Argentina is producing wines to rival the best from anywhere in the world, and at the moment they are great value for money. There speciality is undoubtedly Malbec but they also make fantastic blends, and more recently, have started producing top class wines from classic varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay. Argentina’s white specialitiy is Torrontes, which makes some delicious floral wines with relatively low acidity, making them ideal as ‘ a glass of wine’ to enjoy in it’s own right without food.
How is this possible?
Well, for starters, Argentina has the Andes mountains running down it’s length which stops virtually all rainfall from the Pacific. This gives an annual 320 days a year of sunshine in many of the Argentinian wine regions, which lie between the same lines of latitude as the Cape in South Africa, all the wine areas of Australia, and Marlborough in New Zealand. Warm, sunny days combined with cool nights, watered with snow melt off the Andes carrying minerals. Add to this, new investment with state of the art wineries and passionate family producers, and you have all the ingredients for making great wine. The major drawback with traditional, allegedly great vineyard sites such as Bordeaux, is the unpredictable weather, making a good vintage a rare thing and very sought after. In Argentina every year is a good year because the weather is constant, year in year out. As for the price, the cost of living and therefore the cost of labour in Argentina is low. In a lot of the good family owned vineyards the picking and sorting is done by hand – now that would cost a small fortune in a European country!
But how do I find GOOD Argentinian wine?
There’s still plenty of rubbish out there, peddled by the big corporations. To find good wine you need to avoid brands. Look for wines produced by family owned wineries who will take pride in their wine and use minimal chemicals and additives. Some names to look out for, who are amongst the best producers in Argentina include: El Porvenir de Los Andes, NQN, Benegas Lynch, and San Huberto Nina range. Gouguenheim also make some cracking wines in the middle price range. Steer clear of anything cheap and mass produced. It’s well worth trading up a few pounds per bottle if you can, as the quality improves dramatically. For £10 you should get a great bottle of wine. For £25 you’ll get something very, very special.