There’s a serious rival for Malbec’s quality crown in the shape of Cabernet Sauvignon. This scion of the great vineyards of Bordeaux has proved a happy émigré to Mendoza and elsewhere in Argentina. And, like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon has taken to the high altitudes, ample sun and rocky soils with gusto, producing similarly aromatic and generous wines, packed with ample fruit and spicy notes, well-structured yet drinking well when relatively young.
Mendoza has been described as ‘the Napa of the South’ and it’s easy to understand why such parallels are drawn. With both sitting at 33 degrees of latitude there’s a neat symmetry at work for anyone with a smidgeon of interest in how the world’s great vineyards lie. Add to this the regional eminence of both Napa Valley and Mendoza, each celebrated as the most famous quality wine producer in their respective American hemispheres, and such comparisons seem almost inevitable.
Where do you stand on the cork versus screw cap debate? Perhaps, like several of the recent dinner guests around my kitchen table, you really don’t care, so long as the wines taste good and keep on flowing. Or maybe you are more in tune with the “natural is best” camp. So what are the facts lying behind both points of view?
Mention Argentina to the average wine drinker and Malbec is the variety that everyone knows. Argentina’s vignerons have managed the neat trick of taking this relatively obscure French variety and, in their high altitude, sun-blessed vineyards, creating a new world-class style of wine.
While Chileans are investing in the Argentinian wine industry, there is a strange lack of investment the other way around. Andrew Catchpole investigates.
Buenos Aires is awash with great places to sample a fantastic spread of Argentina’s wines. And while there is nothing quite like touring the far-flung vineyards of Mendoza and elsewhere to really get a sense of why the wines taste the way they do, back in the capital you can immerse yourself in a wealth of choice at a growing number of superb wine-focused bars and restaurants.
Question: how did Argentinian wine, so recently the object of pitying amusement from wine buffs, become profitable, fashionable and, more to the point, drinkable? Matt Chesterton talks to Ian Mount to find out.
One of the most fascinating and compelling reasons for diving into the treasure trove of New World wines lies not just in the drum-roll of longer established flagship varieties and styles, but also with the emerging stars awaiting discovery.
‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it’, goes the saying, and Argentina has taken this to heart with the coming Malbec World Day on 17th April which will see a 24 hour celebration of its flagship grape sweeping the globe.
As a Brit homesick for Argentina, it is undoubtedly the meat that I miss most (sure, friends and that, but mostly meat). But fear not: London is the place to find Argentinian restaurants that have the similar cuts, the same offal, and the perfect malbec to accompany it.