Argentine Wine and Imported Wine

mini

Registered
SFMike said:
0800 vinos looks terrific. I can't wait to try it.

If anyone is interested in getting together every few weeks or so to do a wine tasting, let me know and I'll set something up.
that would be fun! i'd be up for it.
 

BsAsWino

Registered
Since 2002, I have spent 3 months of every year in Argentina, mostly in BsAs. During that time I have accumulated tasting notes, cost and other relative data on close to 400 Argentine wines. This is a hobby that dovetails with my professional life elsewhere. I have found a great number of acceptable local wines with good to excellent QPR's.

Champañas under $30ARS

Tamari Extra Brut Non-Vintage is usually available at Jumbo for under $25ARS. Yeasty, medium fine bubbles using the Charmant method; nicely balanced, but not bone dry; Produced by a subsidiary of Chilean Concha y Toro.
Nieto Senetiner Extra Brut Non-Vintage is widely available at prices hovering around the $30ARS range. This is a well balanced pinkish sparkler that is dry without a bitter finish; no cloying fruit.
Federico de Alvear Extra Brut Non-Vintage is similar to sparklers common to European countries other than France. Not as dry as a true Extra Brut, but perfectly acceptable for a pleasant afternoon luncheon. It has a good level of Charmant carbonation with a slight pear nuance. Quality varies somewhat from year to year, but you certainly cannot fault its value at 2010 prices hovering around $12ARS.

Red Wines under $20ARS

JS by Suter 2007 Malbec and 2007 Cabernet-Sauvignon varietals. Both offer a level of structure and sophistication the belie their $20ARS price tag. They are suitably oaked with soft tannins and a smooth finish that will be agreeable to both casual and serious wine drinkers. Available at Jumbo and Carrefour stores among others.
Pacheco Pareda Cabernet/Malbec 2008. Widely available for under $17ARS, this blend is well rounded with nicely integrated oak and soft tannins and a rich plum butter bouquet. It has a decent level of structure and depth given its price.
Familia Gascon Cabernet-Sauvignon 2006. If you can still find some bottles of this particular vintage, you'll find a yeasty, lightly oaked, smooth wine with a pleasant rich plum nuance. Widely available at prices hovering around or under the $20ARS level.

White Wines under $20ARS

Quara Torrontes 2008 is pressed from the varietal unique to Argentina. If you do not like perfumy or spicy wines in the Muscat or Gewurztraminer style, you will probably not like Torrentes. However, the Quara version is particularly well balanced and elegant without succumbing to the cloying perfume that can be evident in less refined samples. At the $16ARS or so price mark, it is well worth a try.
Ampakama Vignier 2008 offers a herbaceous pear bouquet with citrus notes It is well balanced and has a rich honey finish as it begins to warm. At $15ARS, it is an excellent value.
Estiba 1 Chardonnay 2008 is not the typical over oaked vanilla California version. It is dry, with nuances more common to Sauvignon-Blanc's. It is less fruity than most Chardonnays and as such is a very pleasant as an accompaniment to seafood or poultry. At around $14ARS, it has a very good QPR and is one of Bodega Esmerelda's best values.
 

EvergreenGal

Registered
I was just introduced to a lovely wine.... Alamos Malbec Rose' 35 pesos. Clean, crisp with a hint of spice and not sweet....I don't like roses' at all...but this is a yummy wine...perfect for chicken, fish or any lighter meals and PERFECT for the hot weather!

I also found if you let it breath about 10 minutes out of the frig the spice is more pronounced...

**be sure to finish the bottle in one sitting...didn't hold over well...only complaint.
 

Ailujjj

Registered
Looking forward to doing a BA wine tour & tasting at both places mentionned :) Went on a wine tour in Recoletta held in various design boutiques/galleries and it was absolutely incredible!

My last trip we handpicked (and reserved) our winery visits in Mendoza and while we tried many exceptional wines, the ones that stood out the most were at Achaval Ferrer. Completely impressive operation and attention to detail & quality. Artisanal nature is reflected in a higher price but certainly worth it, in my opinion. Excellent and educational tour that went beyond the basics of the general process of winemaking.

Their malbec was (at the time) one of (maybe the only) few Argentine malbecs which were in fact 100% malbec grape. To be designated malbec, 85% must be malbec but the remaining 15% is often grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. Their dessert wine - dolce - was out of this world although at that time, very limited in production and only sold on-site. If you can find some - try it! :)
 

EvergreenGal

Registered
Ailujjj said:
Looking forward to doing a BA wine tour & tasting at both places mentionned :) Went on a wine tour in Recoletta held in various design boutiques/galleries and it was absolutely incredible!

My last trip we handpicked (and reserved) our winery visits in Mendoza and while we tried many exceptional wines, the ones that stood out the most were at Achaval Ferrer. Completely impressive operation and attention to detail & quality. Artisanal nature is reflected in a higher price but certainly worth it, in my opinion. Excellent and educational tour that went beyond the basics of the general process of winemaking.

Their malbec was (at the time) one of (maybe the only) few Argentine malbecs which were in fact 100% malbec grape. To be designated malbec, 85% must be malbec but the remaining 15% is often grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. Their dessert wine - dolce - was out of this world although at that time, very limited in production and only sold on-site. If you can find some - try it! :)
What year was the Malbec you enjoyed by Achaval Ferrer?
 

Ailujjj

Registered
To be honest I don't recall exactly although I'm going to take an educated guess that the first time was a 2004. I've had several since. The malbec is the one which is 100% malbec; their others (eg Quimera) will be a blend although likely dominated by malbec. The dessert wine was novel for being malbec as well.
 

BsAsWino

Registered
The Achaval Ferrer wine to which Ailujjj refers is simply known as Achaval Ferrer Malbec, the most recent available vintage currently being 2008. While single varietal wines can indeed showcase the particular attributes of a grape's characteristics, they cannot easily camouflage its weaknesses. That is the main reason so many of the top rated wines are blends. In France, the grape varietals comprising some of the best known premier cru's are not revealed and can change from one vintage to the next. This allows the winemaker the flexibility to adjust for climatic conditions that may have negatively affected a specific region or varietal.

Decanting a wine for an hour or two before serving almost always allows the wine to "open up" and bring out some of the intricate flavor nuances that the winemaker has worked so hard to create. It serves to dissipate some of the "alcohol burn" or harshness and softens the finish. On occasion, leaving a half finished bottle of wine in the fridge overnight will actually enhance its flavor due to the aeration taking place in the bottle. Lesser wines will usually suffer if left opened too long and become thin and insipid.

One of this year's best Argentine QPR values is the 2007 Colomé Amalaya. At less than $40ARS, this blend of 55% Malbec, 25% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 5% Tannat and 5% Bonarda produced in Salta by Donald Hess (re: Napa Valley Hess Collection) is a nicely sophisticated and structured wine that is slightly herbaceous and whose flavor notes include cranberry, strawberry and spiced cherry. Let is aerate for a while and you'll be able to discern much more, depending on your nose.
 

Ailujjj

Registered
Exactly! That is what was I loved about the tour at Achaval Ferrer - they explained what other grapes could do in contributing to a wine's structure, and had us try some other grapes - eg trying some pure cabernet franc to see how it contributed 'structure' .. and so on. Also had us try certain wines at different ages in the barrel to see how it evolved with time in the barrel...

Will definitely check out the Colome Amalaya, thanks for the suggestion.
 

sergio

Registered
Inflation has driven wine prices way up. Nigel might have a few good suggestions (where are his wine tastings?) but I find that more complex wines sell for well over $30 pesos a bottle. Someone here mentioned Achaval Ferrer, one of the best brands in Argentina. I did a quick google search and came up with this wine forum, over a year old: http://foro.taninos.com/viewtopic.php?t=466 At that time Achaval Ferrer sold for $75 and up and these were considered "special prices". At the moment I'm in the US and I am having a great time buying a varierty of wine that I can't get in Argentina - and all at very reasonable prices. For example an excellent South African Chenin Blanc on sale for $7,99. There are sales every week and always lots to choose from. By the way, I noticed several bottles of Terrazas (from Argentina) for $9,99 USD. I don't think it sells for much less in Argentina. If they can sell it for that price in the US, it would seem that the local Argentine price is inflated. There is so much competition in the open US wine market that Argentine wine producers can't gouge as they do in Argentina. They must compete with wine not only from the US but from everywhere else in the world.
 

BsAsWino

Registered
Sergio is absolutely correct in mentioning the US as being a "buyer's market," if you will. Often there is discrete "dumping" of product in certain jurisdictions that give Argentine wines serious competition in regards to QPR. Of course, that being said, some of the better known quality Argentine wines are themselves sold at prices below what they are sold here in BsAs. I recall a few years ago in Honolulu when Australian wines were sold at prices lower than in Sydney and the North American continent. The wine business in the US is fierce and highly competitive. You are most likely to find more QPR values there than in any other market in the world.
 
Top