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Argentina, Making Wine History

When I think of Argentinian wine, Malbec, of course is the first thing that comes to mind. I know that I am not alone in this line of thinking. Then, my thoughts might go to Torrontes and/or some Pinot Noirs from specific producers. But, sparkling Torrontés? Cabernet Franc? An Argentinian Pet Nat Rosé? These were all firsts for me…aside  from the fact that they were from Argentina!  However, this was the intention. Wines of Argentina sought to make this a truly unique event. Making Wine History, was their first wine tasting soiree designed to “experience and discover the endless range of flavors and distinct styles our wines have to offer.” Mission accomplished.

The event, held at the Consulate for the Argentina Republic, was expertly organized and executed by Veronica Kathuria, the USA & Canada Area Manager for Wines of Argentina. The night began with a cocktail hour, consisting of typical Argentine hors d’oeuvres and fabulous Argentine bubbly. Bodega Tapiz Sparkling Torrontés was the perfect way to get this party started. Tapiz Sparkling Torrontés, from Mendoza, is made from 100% Torrontés and aged in made via the Champenoise method. It is aged in stainless steel, undergoes a second fermentation and is then left for 8-10 months on the lies. Delicate citrus and floral aromas, crisp, fresh and good acidity. What a lovely introduction!

After the cocktail hour, we began our guided wine tasting of 12 wines. At the halfway point of winetasting, we took a break, only to be entertained by a Argentine food (tapas, empanadas), music and dance. We had the pleasure of seeing a tango dance!

After being fully immersed in the Argentine culture, we went back to winetasting, all of which was led by the awesome, Carrie Lyn Strong, Sommelier and Wine Consultant. Here’s what we tasted:

  1. Bodega Tapiz Wapisa Sauvignon Blanc 2020, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, from Los Acantilados Estate, San Javier, Atlantic Patagonia, Rio Negro
  2. Ver Sacrum Geisha de Jade 2020, 50% Roussanne, 50% Marianne, from Los Chacayes, Vista Flores, Valle de Uco
  3. Susana Balbo Signature Brioso White Blend 2019, 40% Semmillion, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Torrontés, from Valle de Uco, Mendoza. I’ve been a longtime fan of Susan Balbo’s red wines, so the Brioso white blend was a lovely treat. This wine was delicate, yet refreshing, and loaded with citrus flavors, stone fruits and white flowers, resulting from the cooler nights of the region. As it spent some time in oak, there is a waxy component that adds to the complexity and a great mouthfeel. Elegant and delicious.
  4. Alpamanta Estate Breva Pet Nat Criolla 2020, 100% Criolla Grande, Organic and Biodynamic, Valle de Uco, Mendoza.  Pet Nat is really short for, “pétillant naturel” and translates to “naturally sparkling.” This was my first criolla grande, sparkling rose and organic, biodynamic certified Pet Nat from Argentina! Alpamanta Breva is a Pet Nat game-changer for me. This sparkling wine is a lovely cherry color, very fresh, exciting and juicy, with flavors of bright raspberry and cherry.
  5. Durigutti Family Proyecto Las Compuertas Malbec 5 Suelos, 100% Malbec aged in concrete eggs without epoxy, Lujan de Coyote, Mendoza. It was interesting to learn that this Malbec is very rare and that it is only sold in 4 bottle cases. I feel honored to have tasted this distinctive Malbec.
  6. Bodegas Escorihuela 1884 Single Vineyard Malbec 2019, Organic Grapes, 100% Malbec, Valle de Uco, Mendoza Vegan wine.
  7. Bodega Colomé Auténtico Malbec 2018, 100% Malbec, Valles Calchaquies, Salta.  I am very familiar with Bodegas Colomé wines, but this one was a first! Absolutely delicious, and just what I look for in a  Malbec!!! Colomé Auténtico is big and robust, full of black fruits, dense with great structure. I was surprised to learn that oak was not used. Nevertheless, the cold Salta climate and high vineyard elevation (over 7,500 feet above sea level) resulted in this Bordeaux style Malbec.  Absolutely beautiful. 14.5% ABV.
  8. Terrazas de Los Andes Grand Malbec 2017, 100% Malbec, Los Chacayes, Valle de Uco, Mendoza. What’s a Gran Malbec? This is. According to the producer, a Grand Malbec is “the fullest varietal expression. Textured. Complex. Rare. Grand is a rare wine, the epitome of our art of blending. It combines different facets found in different great own terroirs at the most exceptional winemaking Geographic Indications of Mendoza, resulting the deepest expression of each varietal.” This wine comes from vines that have been aged since 1929. It is aged for 16-18 months in French oak. Smooth and beautiful. 14.5% ABV
  9. Casarena Lauren Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2017, 100% Cabernet Franc, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza. So, this was my first Cabernet Franc from Argentina. Wow! Completely unexpected and completely gratifying. Casarena refers to their “house” and to the “sand”, given the sandy soils at their estate. This Cabernet Franc is lovely, full bodied with dark notes, vegetable and earthy undertones. This Cab Franc is aged for 12 months in French oak, contributing to notes of vanilla and chocolate
  10. Vina Cobos Bramare Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza. This wine is apart of Paul Hobbs Selections.
  11. Doña Paula Selección de Bodega Malbec 2018, 100% Malbec, Valle de Uco, Mendoza 
  12. Matervini Antes Andes Valles Calchaquies Malbec 2018, Valles Calchaquies, Salta. This was yet another gorgeous Malbec from Salta. Matervini vineyards are located at over 7800 feet above sea level. This Malbec, which was aged 14 months in oak, is full-bodied, with luscious  chocolate and herbal notes, likely a result from the granite soil. 14.5% ABV. Matervini was a great choice to complete our Argentinian wine tasting. 

What an eye-opener.  Sustainability seemed to be a common thread with all of these producers. But, who knew that Argentina produced all of these goodies?  I certainly didn’t.

Ultimately, I must say that I was rather impressed by the selection of wines I tasted. Wines of Argentina truly made history with this soirée. From the presentation of wines, the food, music and culture, their goal was accomplished. #MakingWineHistory

Planted, harvested and aged in NY. I have a background in education and marketing, with a love and passion for travel...and all things wine. In addition to writing about wine, I also maintain an online wine boutique (thewininghour.com) that caters to the winelover, as well as the weekly vinous winechat (#WiningHourChat) on Twitter (see page for more info).

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