Wines of Argentina was the topic for a seminar and tasting at Century Wines this month. Clay Harpending from Polaner Selections, fine wine importers, has visited Argentina and gave a terrific presentation on the climate, soils, wine growing regions, grape varieties and vinification methods of Argentina, the world’s fifth largest wine producing nation after France, Italy, Spain and the United States. During the seminar, we tasted six different wines from four producers in Argentina: Crios, Luca, Tikal and La Posta.
- 2012 Crios Torrontes – a dry but very aromatic, flowery white wine from Torrontes grapes grown in the Mendoza region, similar in style to a Gewurztraminer or Viognier. Aromas of apple blossoms, pear and orange peel, with flavors of peach, melon and lime. It had good acidity and a medium finish; definitely meant to be drunk young.
- 2011 Crios Malbec Rosé – a lovely deep rose-colored dry rosé made from Malbec grapes grown in the Uco Valley of the Mendoza province, produced in the traditional Saignée method of bleeding off some of the early juice from the production of the red Malbec wine. This wine had a nice fruity flavor of red cherries and strawberries, a good summer wine.
- 2009 Luca Pinot Noir – I didn’t even know that any producers were growing Pinot Noir grapes in Argentina, but Luca has a cool vineyard at almost 5,000 feet in elevation in Mendoza and makes a respectable Pinot aged 12 months in French oak. Medium garnet in color, this wine had complex flavors of raspberry, cherry and spice; rated 93 points by Robert Parker!
- 2010 Luca Malbec – Luca also makes an excellent dry red wine from 100 per cent Malbec, the signature grape of Argentina, grown in the Uco Valley of Mendoza Province. This is a deeply colored, complex Malbec with intense aromas and flavors of dark fruits, coffee, cocoa and spice, and it had a long, smooth finish. It was rated 93 points as well by Wine Advocate!
- 2010 La Posta Paulucci Malbec – the other Malbec we tasted, also from the 2010 vintage, made by La Posta winery from Malbec grapes grown by Angel Paulucci in his vineyard in the Town of Ugarteche in Mendoza province. While not as refined and complex as the Luca Malbec, this was a very drinkable Malbec with nice red fruit flavors and good tight acidity.
- 2010 Tikal Patriota Mendoza – this is a blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Bonarda, the other major red grape variety grown in Argentina. By careful blending of these two varietals and aging in French oak, Tikal has developed a deep purple dry red wine with bold flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. A fun wine which would pair well with pizza or barbecue.
Map of Argentina: Yay Image Bank.