Saturday, April 24, 2010

Report from … Discover the Flavours of Argentina – April 20, 2010

The sub-title of this tasting was: From Salta to Patagonia, just two of the nine (or so) wine regions of Argentina you could have tried wines from at this tasting.  There were 19 producers (most looking for agents/representation here in Ontario) that are making wine in, what is possibly the trendiest wine country at the moment.  Argentine wine seems to be everywhere and after a quick glance at the provided catalogue you would see it is, for the most part, very well priced.  I did a rough calculation and found that 78% of the wines poured at this event were under $20.

The catalogue was quite informative about what Argentina has done to improve its wines, the region and other pieces of trivia:  things like in 2007 Argentina became the sixth largest wine producing country in the world and the fourth largest consumer per capita, or how about this one, in “1554 Juan Cedron, a Jesuit priest, plants first vines.”

About the Regions …
I think that some new Argentinean regions are going to be entering your wine lexicon sooner rather than later, we’ve all heard of Mendoza by now, but what about Salta, La Rioja, San Juan (the 2nd largest wine region in Argentina), Neuquen (the fastest growing region, adding 1500 hectares over the last 5 years alone) and Rio Negro (the oldest wine producing region).  But for now Mendoza still accounts for 70% of Argentina’s total production.

The Wines of Note …
I’ll admit to not getting through the whole room (actually there were 2 rooms) but amongst what I did get to try here’s what impressed:

Baudron 2008 Tempranillo ($10.99 – Mendoza) – real rich raspberry nose and a nice red fruit driven palate – lots of cherry and soft tannins. (****)

Carelli 2009 34o Torrentes ($9.99 – Rivadavia-Mendoza) – fresh and fruity with lovely peach and pear notes. (***½)

Carelli 2006 Malbec ($78.99 – La Consulta-Mendoza) – this was a wine rich with blackberry-chocolate and cocoa, anise, cinnamon, vanilla and big tannins and a mocha finish.  Very expensive but also very expressive. (****)

Casa Montes 2007 Don Baltazar Petit Verdot ($13.99 – San Juan) – dark chocolate, spice and white pepper, this wine spent 9 months in new French oak and has a long spicy finish. (****)

El Porvenir de los Andes 2006 Laborum Tannat ($48.99 – Cafayate-Salta) – this one’s soft and fruit driven, juicy and delicious with hints of spice and milk chocolate in the mouth. (****½)

San Huberto 2009 Estate Bonarda ($9.99 – La Rioja) – I am slowing becoming a fan of this Bonarda grape and this wine helped push me closer to the “Love it” camp; nice ripe raspberry-strawberry notes on the nose, while the palate has a spicy-peppery and ultimately appealing finish. (****)

Secreto Patagonico 2007 Chardonnay ($17.99 – Patagonia) – the nose here didn’t thrill, but the palate proved to be first rate: fresh and crisp with lots of fruit and a fresh sweet pineapple finish – the start was slow but this one ends with a bang. (****)

Secreto Patagonico 2008 Malbec ($19.99 – Patagonia) – this wine saw no oak whatsoever and yet it has good tannins on the finish; red fruit led the way with licorice and raspberry notes; nice clean finish. (****)

Sietefincas 2008 Syrah ($15.99 – Junin-Mendoza) – blueberry, blackberry and chocolate greet the nose, while the palate is juicy and the finish is spicy. (****)

Vasija Secreta 2007 VAS Malbec ($31.99 – Cafayate-Salta) – good fruit with mocha/chocolate on the nose and palate, there’s also some blackberry and nice tannin grip.



Brittany said...

I loved the wines in Argentina. They are so tasty and the best ones are the ones produced in Mendoza, pretty sweet I would say. With regard to food, I loved the EMPANADAS. last year I rent apartments buenos aires and I was living next to this restaurant that had the best steak. I could not stop eating. It was fabulous!

Brittany said...