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News - 16.01.14

A Question that Calls for an Answer: Is Argentina More Than Malbec?

The obvious answer is yes. Argentina can produce excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, great Torrontés, wonderful Cabernet Franc, and an endless list of varietals or blends. Now the question is: why are wineries only concerned with promoting their Malbecs?

By Laura Ortiz

On occasion of the annual tasting organized by Tim Atkin MW, an influential English wine critic, wineries were invited to present one of their wines during the tasting called PremiumTasting . More than 90% of the wineries participated with Malbec wines, several of which made an impression. Yet, the wines that stepped up on the winners' podium were those which stood out from the rest. Only one winery was brave enough to present a white wine, and it obviously made a difference. When looking deeper into the Argentine varieties promoted at the world's largest showcases, such as Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits and Wine Enthusiast, it can be observed that wineries invest much more heavily in promoting Malbec than other varieties, which, in some way, defines Argentina as a one-dimensional market. This does not mean that we should divert attention from Malbec but rather shed light on other varieties showing Argentina's potential.


Wine & Spirits
This publication praises Catena Zapata in the 27th Annual Hall of Fame for being Winery of the Year during 9 years since 1987.

In the Wineries to Watch section, Tinto Negro, by Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach, as well as their other projects Anko and Teho, are praised for the initiative taken to develop other varietals such as Torrontés, Criolla and Lambrusco.

The Imported Wineries of the Year section includes Bodega Zorzal and Bodega Noemía on the list, together with prestigious wineries such as Dom Perignon, Royal Tokaji and Antinori.

Noemía's Top Scoring Wines: 92 pts 2010 Patagonia - Alto Valle del río Negro Noemía // 92 pts 2012 Patagonia Single vineyard J. Alberto // 91 pts 2011 Patagonia Single vineyard J. Alberto.
Zorzal's Top Scoring Wines: 92 pts 2011 Tupungato Terroir único Gualtallary Malbec // 90 pts 2012 Tupungato Terroir único Gualtallary Sauvignon // 90 pts 2012 Tupungato Terroir único Gualtallary Pinot Noir.

100 Best Wines of the Year, one of the magazine's main sections, or one of the sections most eagerly awaited by readers, includes a selection of wines by country and category. In this section, wines from the United States, for example, featured in 12 categories, including Best Chardonnay, Best Riesling, Best Sauvignon Blanc, among others. In turn, Chilean wines featured in 5 categories: Best Chardonnay, Best Sauvignon Blanc, Best Cabernet Sauvignon, Best Carménère and Best Cinsault. Argentine wines were only included in the Best Malbec category, which reveals the country's lack of strategy or interest in showing diversity.

The wine selected as Best Malbec Argentina was Achaval Ferrer Finca Altamira 2010, Malbec Mendoza with 93 points.

The Best Buys of the Year list features, with 90 points, Domain Jean Bousquet 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon USD 11, and, with 92 points, Zorzal Terroir Único Malbec Gualtallary, both from Tupungato, Mendoza.

Among the 13 wines listed in The Best for U$S10 or less section is the Argentine wine Conquista 2011 Argentina Oak Cask Malbec.

Wine Spectator
A column called MUCHO MALBEC posted in the Savvy Shopper section highlights the experience of drinking Malbec and recommends it as an ideal wine to be paired with steak. However, in the same article, the author also praises a blend and a Bonarda by Norton and Lamadrid, respectively. The following wines are distinguished in this column: Achaval Ferrer Malbec Mendoza 2012 with 91 pts, Maal Biutiful Malbec Mendoza 2012 with 91 pts, Bodega Norton Privada Blend Malbec Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with 91 pts, Kaiken Ultra Malbec Mendoza 2011 with 90 pts, Lamadrid Bonarda Reserva Agrelo 2011 with 90 pts, Familia Zuccardi Q Malbec Mendoza 2012 with 90 pts and Lamadrid Malbec Agrelo 2012 with 89 pts.

Catena Malbec Mendoza 2011 is featured with 91 points in the Smart Buys section.

In Spectator Selections, the magazine classifies wines according to the following categories: Highly Recommended, Collectibles, Smart Buys, Best Values and New wines from around the world.

The Highly recommended category includes Achával Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec 2011 Mendoza, with 96 points, USD 125, on a list of 5 wines from around the world.

Out of the 7 Smart Buys, 3 are Argentine wines, all of them Malbec: 92 pts Norton Malbec Reserva 2011 Mendoza (USD 20), 91 pts Catena Malbec 2011 Mendoza (USD 24), and 91 pts Perdriel Malbec Colección 2010 (USD 19).

The category New wines from around the world Argentina is divided into 2 groups: Malbecs & Blends and Others. Of a total of 85 wines, 55 turned out to be Malbec, 10 were blends and the Others list included Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Semillón, Merlot and Torrontés, among others.

Malbecs & Blends
96 pts Achával Ferrer Malbec Mendoza Finca Altamira 2011 $142
96 pts Achával Ferrer Malbec Mendoza Finca Mirador 2011 $125
95 pts Achával Ferrer Malbec Mendoza Finca Bella Vista 2011 $132
95 pts Alta Vista Alto Mendoza 2010 $90
95 pts Bodega Noemía de Patagonia Río Negro Valley 2011 $130
93 pts Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Mendoza Nicasia Vineyard 2010 $120
93 pts Familia Zuccardi Aluvional El Peral Tupungato 2009 $90
93 pts Familia Zuccardi Aluvional La Consulta 2010 $90
92 pts Achával Ferrer Quimera Mendoza 2011 $56
92 pts Bodega Caro Mendoza 2010 $63
92 pts Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Mendoza Argentino 2009 $140
92 pts Viña Cobos Malbec Uco Valley Bramare 2011 $45
92 pts Bodega Diamandes Malbec Uco Valley 2011 $18
92 pts Bodega Norton Malbec Mendoza Reserva 2011 $20
92 pts Finca Perdriel Vineyard Selection Mendoza 2007 $62
92 pts Recuerdo Wines Malbec Uco Valley Reserva 2011 $35
92 pts Pascual Toso Finca Pedregal Single Vineyard Mendoza 2010 $72
92 pts Trapiche Malbec La Consulta Viña Finca Suarez Lastra 2010 $55
92 pts Tundra Malbec Uco Valley LTU 2009 $52
91 pts Achával Ferrer Malbec Mendoza 2012 $28
91 pts Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Mendoza 2011 $24
91 pts Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Mendoza Alta 2010 $55
91 pts Viña Cobos Malbec Luján de Cuyo Bramare 2011 $45
91 pts Durigutti Familia Mendoza 2009 $41
91 pts Maal Biutiful Mendoza 2012 $19
91 pts Bodega Norton Privada Mendoza 2011 $26
91 pts Perdriel Malbec Mendoza Colección 2010 $19
91 pts Recuerdo Wines Gran Corte Uco Valley 2011 $75
91 pts Trapiche Malbec Mendoza Viña Fausto Orellana de Escobar 2010 $55
91 pts Familia Zuccardi Tito La Consulta 2011 $38
90 pts Kaiken Malbec Mendoza Ultra 2011 $25
90 pts Bodega François Lurton Malbec Uco Valley Piedra Negra 2009 $30
90 pts Maal Bestial Mendoza 2010 $44
90 pts Proviva Malbec Uco Valley Chakana Ayni 2012 $36
90 pts Trapiche Malbec Mendoza Finca Ambrosia 2010 $55
90 pts Familia Zuccardi Malbec Mendoza Q 2012 $20
90 pts Familia Zuccardi Zeta Uco Valley 2010 $45
89 pts Angulo Innocenti Malbec La Consulta 2012 $20
89 pts Bodega Luigi Bosca Malbec Luján de Cuyo Single Vineyard 2010 $27
89 pts Lamadrid Malbec Agrelo 2012 $15
89 pts Lamadrid Malbec Agrelo Gran Reserva 2010 $34
88 pts Valentín Bianchi Malbec Mendoza 2011 $13
88 pts Jean Bousquet Malbec Tupungato Valley Finca Lalande 2012 $17
88 pts Maal Impossible Mendoza 2011 $29
88 pts Proviva Malbec Mendoza Maipe Reserve 2012 $16
88 pts Trapiche Malbec Uco Valley Pure 2012 $16
88 pts Trivento Malbec Mendoza Reserve 2012 $11
88 pts Las Vertientes Mendoza Reserva 2011 $35
87 pts Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Mendoza Clasico 2012 $12
87 pts Bodega Luigi Bosca Malbec Luján de Cuyo Finca La Linda 2011 $13
87 pts Jean Bousquet Malbec Tupungato Valley Reserve 2012 $18
87 pts Bodega Diamandes Malbec-Syrah Uco Valley Perlita 2011 $12
87 pts Durigutti Malbec Mendoza 2012 $13
87 pts Durigutti Malbec Mendoza Reserva 2011 $22
87 pts Bodegas y Viñedos La Esperanza Malbec Tunuyán Finca El Origen Reserva 2012 $12
87 pts Dominio del Plata Malbec Mendoza Bodini 2013 $13
87 pts La Posta del Viñatero Malbec Mendoza Angel Paulucci Vineyard 2012 $18
87 pts La Posta del Viñatero Malbec Uco Valley Pizzela Family Vineyard 2012 $19
87 pts Proviva Malbec Uco Valley Tizia 2012 $20
86 pts Viñas de Altura Malbec Mendoza Conquista Oak Cask 2011 $11
86 pts Valentín Bianchi Malbec San Rafael Argentina Famiglia 2011 $19
86 pts Freixenet Malbec Uco Valley Acordeón 2011 $19
86 pts Bodega Piedra Negra Malbec Mendoza Reserve 2011 $18
86 pts Proviva Malbec Mendoza Nuna Reserve 2012 $17

Others
94 pts Bodega Catena Zapata Nicolás Catena Zapata Mendoza 2009 $140
92 pts Viña Cobos Cabernet Sauvignon Luján de Cuyo Bramare 2011 $45
91 pts Las Vertientes Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza Reserva 2011 $35
90 pts Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Patagonia Treinta y Dos 2011 $100
90 pts Lamadrid Bonarda Agrelo Reserva 2011 $20
89 pts Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Patagonia Cincuenta y Cinco 2011 $60
89 pts Durigutti Bonarda Mendoza Reserva 2010 $20
89 pts Trapiche Chardonnay Mendoza Finca Las Palmas Gran Reserva 2012 $35
89 pts Achával Ferrer Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza 2012 $28
88 pts Jean Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Tupungato Valley Finca Lalande 2012 $17
88 pts Kaiken Torrontés Salta Terroir Series 2012 $17
88 pts Lamadrid Bonarda Agrelo 2011 $15
88 pts Trapiche Torrontés Cafayate Broquel 2012 $18
87 pts Jean Bousquet Merlot Tupungato Valley Reserve 2012 $18
87 pts Bodega del Desierto Chardonnay Patagonia 25 2012 $15
87 pts Durigutti Bonarda Mendoza 2011 $15
87 pts Bodegas y Viñedos La Esperanza Cabernet Sauvignon Uco Valley Finca El Origen Reserva 2012 $12
87 pts Bodega Mendel Semillón Mendoza 2013 $25
87 pts Proviva Bonarda Mendoza Nuna Reserve 2012 $17
87 pts Familia Schroeder Pinot Noir Patagonia Saurus Barrel Fermented 2011 $25

Wine Enthusiast
This magazine included 6 Argentine wines among the Top 100 Best Buys 2013: four Malbec and two Cabernet Sauvignon. The selected wines were:

9th place: Trapiche 2010 Broquel Malbec Mendoza 91 Pts USD 15 // 24th place: Norton 2010 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza 90 Pts USD 13 // 26th place: Trivento 2011 Reserva Malbec Mendoza 89 Pts USD 11 // 53th place: Medrano 2011 Estate Malbec Mendoza 88 Pts USD 10 // 80th place: Zolo 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Mendoza 88 Pts USD 11 // 98th place: Bianchi 2012 Elsa Bianchi Torrontés Mendoza 87 Pts USD 10.
The Buying Guide section of this magazine features Argentine wines in 3 categories: Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Red Blends.


MALBEC
93 Pts Trapiche 2010 Finca Ambrosia Terroir Series Single Vineyard Malbec Mendoza
93 Pts Trapicha 2010 Finca FAusto Orellana de Escobar Terroir Series Single Vineyard Malbec La Consulta, Mendoza
92 Pts Pulenta Estate 2010 Gran X Malbec Mendoza
92 Pts Trapiche 2010 Suarez Lastra Terroir Series Single Vineyard Malbec La Consulta, Mendoza
90 Pts Finca Don Carlos 2010 Calathus Roble Malbec - Uco Valley, Mendoza
90 Pts Finca Sophenia 2010 Synthesis Malec Tupungato, mendoza
90 Pts Zemlia 2010 Himno Malbec Mendoza
89 Pts Valentín Bianchi 2010 Famiglia Bianchi Malbec Mendoza
87 Pts Filus 2010 Reserve Malbec Mendoza
86 Pts Don Miguel Gascón Reserva Malbec Mendoza
85 Finca El Origen 2011 Reserva Malbec Uco Valle, Mendoza


CABERNET FRANC
90 Pts Riglos 2010 Gran Las Divas Vineyard Cabernet Franc Tupungato, Mendoza
88 Pts Andeluna 2008 Pasionado Cabernet Franc Tupungato, mendoza
88 Pts Melipal 2010 Cabernte Franc Mendoza
86 Pts Andeluna 2007 Pasionado Cabernet Franc


RED BLENDS
92 Pts Valentín Bianchi 2009 Enzo Bianchi San Rafael, Mendoza - Destacado en otra sección como Editors' Choice.
91 Pts Trapiche 2009 Iscay Malbec - Cabernet Franc Mendoza
89 Pts Achaval Ferrer 2011 Malbec Cabernet sauvignon Mendoza
89 Pts Bodegas Caro 2011 Amancaya Gran Reserva Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
89 Pts O. Fournier 2009 B Crux Uco Valley, Mendoza
88 Pts Finca Flichman 2011 Expresiones Reserve Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
87 Pts Don Miguel Gascón 2011 Colosal Red Blend Mendoza
87 Pts Melipal 2010 Malbec Petit Verdot Cabernet Franc Mendoza
87 Pts Trapezio 2009 Plus ++ Merlot Cabernet Franc Mendoza
85 Pts Old winery 2011 Red Mendoza

Wine Enthusiast's Wine Star Awards section nominates Viña Cobos as New World Winery of the Year, together with Craggy Range and Penfolds from Australia, Reyneke from South Africa and Santa Carolina from Chile.

Conclusions
Before submitting samples to be tasted in competitions or by critics, it is crucial to analyze who is going to receive the sample in order to make an informed decision on which sample to submit. It is no use submitting a wine with 16.5° of alcohol to someone who penalizes high alcohol content, or an old vintage wine to a critic who is interested in the young and lively wines of our country.

Argentine wineries have grown by leaps and bounds in terms of wine quality, staff expertise and research. Resources have been devoted to studying Malbec, its clones or massal selections, the soil, trellising and training systems, yield, etc. Malbec is grown at various latitudes and altitudes, and this information is transmitted worldwide on the back labels by including the name of a region, micro-region or a specific vineyard. The same efforts should be made to promote other varieties such as Bonarda, which has great potential, even for aging. This variety is usually considered the "ugly sister" of Argentine vines.


It is worth noting that during a blind tasting carried out to select Argentine wines with aging potential to be presented at The Beautiful South 2013 in London to compete with the best wines from Chile and South Africa, the two favorite wines were Cadus Bonarda 2000 and Catena Zapata Malbec 2000. The results of the blind tasting had a strong impact during the event and evidenced the potential for growth of another variety besides Malbec.

Argentina's vineyards extend from the 22th to the 42th parallel and from the Andes mountains at 3000 masl to the Atlantic Coast at 100 masl. Malbec has contributed to place Argentina among the world's quality wine producers. It is now time to get the most of the synergy gained and communicate the diversity and richness of our vineyards.