The world is awash with examples of inter-continental agricultural meddling, whereby opportunistically minded entrepreneurs and traders have transplanted plant species in the pursuit of profit and convenience, sustenance and sales. Of course vines are no different, with thirsty European immigrants taking them to almost every feasible corner of the world where they might successfully adapt and produce decent grapes for wine.
As grape harvests across Mendoza, Patagonia and the north-west provinces are in full motion, that can only mean one thing: it’s time for a new batch of wines to start reaching store shelves and restaurant cavas. And who can we trust for a solid opinion on floral aromas and tobacco notes? Sommeliers, that’s who. Some of Argentina’s top wine experts – already established or coming through the ranks – talk about their work in this flourishing industry.
The term “New World” is a pretty intriguing concept when it comes to Argentine winemaking given that its history stretches back some four and a half centuries. As with much of the Americas, it’s a story that involves Spanish conquistadors, Catholic missionaries, European migrants and, more latterly, the coming of the railway. To put this into perspective, the English Tudor monarch King Henry VIII had only just died when the first vitis vinifera cuttings (the wine grape vine) were planted in what was to become Argentine soil.
Fresh from a recent trip to Mendoza, Andrew Catchpole looks at the innovative Argentine art of microclimatic blending. An amusing and revealing tweet recently did the rounds from a satirical would-be-sommelier tweeter. Hashtagged #LessonsInService, the twittersphere was advised: “When writing wine descriptions on a menu: You can write “crisp, crispy or Malbec” on anything and it will sell.”…
Chardonnay, the noble grape that reaches such sublime heights in Burgundy, famously fell from grace through a mix of over-exposure (think Bridgett Jones and Footballers Wives) and overblown wannabes from the New World. But good old Chardonnay is poised to make a welcome return. Except this time it’s typically leaner and cleaner, cut from a finer cloth that is more in tune with the subtle sophistication of our palates today.
Do you like the idea of year-round sunshine and views of snow-capped Andean mountains? How about drinking wines straight from the vineyards? If so, read on for the lowdown on Argentina’s most famous wine region, in our Mendoza travel guide.