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News - 31.08.09

Latin Influence

The Argentinian wine scene heats up. Note by Stuart Tobe and Anthony Gismondi in Wine Access, the Canadian Wine Magazine.

In February of this year, we participated in the 3rd Annual Argentinian Wine Awards, where more than 350 wines were tasted from across the country. Those competitors, as well as the additional wines we tasted while there, have confirmed our belief in the continuing quality of wines being produced by this country. Argentina continues to produce excellent-quality malbec, perhaps its most well-known varietal, but outstanding efforts are being made in the production of torrontés, cabernet sauvignon, bonarda and syrah, as well. Many of the best wines coming out of Argentina now are Bordeaux-style blends, some with the unusual addition of tannat. With improvements in viniculture and winemaking, many of these wines offer fine value and the ability to improve further in bottle. The following is a selection of some of our favourites.

93 Cheval des Andes 2005
Vistalba, Mendoza, Argentina
BC $83, ON $85, QC $76

A blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and a touch of petit verdot. Spicy, leather, dried herbs, savoury, black cherry, violet, plum, tobacco, cedar, mineral, black olive, coffee, vanilla and cassis aromas. Rich, round, supple but grainy tannins with good acidity and warmth. Intense black cherry jam, cassis jam, chocolate, liquorice, savory, tobacco, black tea, coffee, vanilla, barnyard and cedar flavours. Long, young and suave with good finesse. Certainly one of the most complex wines in Mendoza. Needs 3 to 7 years. (ST)

93 Cuvelier Los Andes 2006 Grand Malbec
Vista Flores, Mendoza, Argentina
QC $58

Smoky, spicy, black pepper, tobacco, resin, graphite, floral, coffee, five spice, black cherry jam, kirsch, vanilla aromas, with a touch of barnyard and saddle leather. Rich, round, full, ripe and supple, with big concentration. Huge liquorice, black cherry jam, tobacco, peppery, clove, five spice, orange peel, mineral, coffee, cola, vanilla and mocha flavours. Great round tannins, big extract and broad structure. It's big, bold and sexy, but just a bit too hot and tart on the end for greatness. A sipping wine. (ST)

93 Viña Cobos 2006 Nico
Perdriel, Mendoza, Argentina
BC $200 estimated retail price

A blend of 63/37 cabernet sau-vignon and malbec. Very floral, spicy, garrigue, liquorice, tobacco, peppery, blackberry jam, black cherry, cassis, barnyard, saddle leather, coffee, vanilla, waxy, black olive aromas. Rich, ripe, round, full and supple palate, with grainy tannins. Very concentrated and intense with cassis jam, black cherry jam, savory, allspice, tobacco, coffee, black olive, smoky tea, liquorice root and graphite flavours. Long, ripe and intense, with good finesse and balance, despite being very warm and a bit tart at the finish. No lack of intensity here. Needs 3 to 5 years to fully soften. (ST)

92 Bodega Catena Zapata 2005 Argentino Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina
NS $59

Spicy, smoky, meaty, resin, barnyard, saddle leather, floral, black cherry, tobacco ash, coffee and chocolate aromas. Rich, ripe, fat, big concentration and somewhat tannic and hot. Prune, black cherry jam, smoky, spicy, violet, mineral ash, tobacco, allspice, liquorice, vanilla and coffee flavours with some dried herbs and plum on the finish. Very good intensity, long but a bit tannic and angular now. Very good fruit, if hot at the end. Needs 5 to 7 years. (ST)

91 Bodega Catena Zapata 2005 Adrianna Vineyard Malbec
Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina
ON $70 suggested retail price

Smoky, meaty, peppery, chocolate, coffee, ash, tobacco, blackberry and black cherry jam aromas. Dry, round, supple palate, but ripe with grippy tannins. Peppery, smoky, black cherry, ash, liquorice root, spicy, vanilla, savoury flavours. Warm, slightly tart finish and good concentration. Needs 3 to 7 years to fully mature. (ST)

91 Finca Flichman 2006 Paisaje de Tupungato
Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
ON $19

Very ripe plum, black cherry, tobacco, chocolate, saddle leather, peppery, smoky, savoury, ash, floral, meaty, waxy nose. Rich, ripe, round and supple with good concentration and acidity, but somewhat tannic. Liquorice, tobacco, chocolate, black cherry jam, savoury, plum, vanilla, allspice and dried herb flavours. Finish is somewhat hot, chewy and intense. Still very young - needs 3 to 7 years to round out. (ST)

91 Bramare 2006 Marchiori Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Perdriel, Mendoza, Argentina
ON $85

Coffee, mocha, blackberry, smoky, rooty, cassis jam, tobacco leaf, black olive, floral aromas. Round, dry, supple, elegant palate with good acidity but very ripe and warm. Vanilla, coffee, mocha, spicy, peppery, black cherry jam, cassis jam, tobacco, spicy, smoky garrigue flavours, with a touch of graphite. Warm but very intense finish and well balanced. Long tobacco, mocha finish with some slightly leafy tannins to shed. Needs 2 to 5 years to fully soften. (ST)

90 Bodega François Lurton 2008 Gran Lurton Corte Friulano
Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
QC $24, NS $24, NL $23

A unique blend of 70/20/8/2 friulano/pinot gris/chardonnay/torrontés. Spicy, floral, ginger, peach, lychee, butter, green apple and vanilla aromas. Dry, round, crisp, fresh and elegant, but has some fatness and concentration. Very spicy, lychee, ginger, butter, floral, peach skin, lees, apple flavours. Very good freshness, elegance and richness to accompany seafood or risotto. (ST)

90 Bodega Monteviejo 2005 Monteviejo
Vista Flores, Mendoza, Argentina
AB $48 

Spicy, blackberry, ash, black cherry, mint, allspice, coffee, cedar, mocha, saddle leather aromas. Rich, hot, tannic and concentrated, but good finesse and suppleness. Big blackberry, coffee, tobacco, chocolate, vanilla, cherry, resin, peppery, meaty flavours. Big monster, somewhat tannic but good fruit. Needs time. (ST)

90 Finca Las Moras 2005 3 Valleys Las Moras Gran Shiraz
San Juan, Argentina
BC $25, NS $24, NL $27

Smoky, meaty, coffee, peppery, liquorice, OXO, black cherry, spicy aromas. Rich, ripe, round, fat, warm palate but very supple. Coffee, rooty, peppery, mineral, vanilla, stewed plum, vanilla, meaty, black cherry flavours. Hot and oaky, but with very good intensity and soft tannins on the finish. Bigger style for big game dishes. (ST)

90 Trivento 2006 Golden Reserve Malbec
Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
BC $26, MB $23, ON $25, NS $26, NL $25

Spicy, orange peel, ash, tobacco, smoky, liquorice, coffee, vanilla, curry, cedar, menthol and saddle leather aromas. Rich, ripe, full and concentrated with some grainy tannins to shed. Black cherry, vanilla, coffee, savory, five spice, peppery, liquorice and resin flavours. A bit fat and hot, but good concentration and balance. Needs 2 to 3 years to soften a bit more. Good value here. (ST)

90 Viña Doña Paula 2006 Seleccion de Bodega Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina
AB $40, ON $40

Coffee, black cherry jam, black plum, savory, liquorice, tobacco, vanilla, resin, garrigues, peppery aromas. Rich, round, supple and warm, with grainy tannins and a touch of acidity. Big spicy, savory, vanilla, liquorice, smoky, black cherry, plum, resin and mineral flavours with a leather, orange peel and tobacco finish. Long and intense, with good complexity but hot. Needs 3 to 5 years to soften the tannin and integrate the abundant oak. (ST)

88 Bodega Norton 2006 Privada
Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
BC $26, QC $22, NS $25

A blend of malbec, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Big spicy, floral, black cherry, liquorice, black pepper, meaty, menthol, smoky vanilla and leather aromas. Rich, dry, warm and somewhat tannic, with vanilla, coffee, blackberry, black cherry, meaty, saddle leather, peppery flavours. A big, chunky, warm style designed for steak. (ST)

88 Familia Zuccardi 2007 Q Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina
QC $20, NS $21, NL $21

A mix of fruit from Agrelo and La Consulta, this shows spicy, vanilla, peppery, liquorice, smoky, savory, black cherry aromas, with a touch of saddle leather. Dry, elegant, slightly tannic palate with vanilla, spicy, peppery, coffee, liquorice, black cherry , tobacco, prune and dried herb flavours. Good finesse and elegance; not a big wine but well-balanced to accompany food. (ST)