The Best and Only Getting Better: Argentinian Wines Come to Lima

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At a recent wine tasting event held in Lima, attendees learned firsthand why Argentinian wines are some of the best on the planet, and why we should expect them to keep getting better. Argentinian wine growers continue to explore new lands, varieties, and techniques. At the same time, Wines of Argentina (WoFa) continues to promote them around the globe.

Beyond Malbecs

Photo: Marco Simola

As you go through the wine shelves of any liqueur store and you spot the Argentinean wines, you will probably pick a bottle of Malbec, as Argentina is well known for this variety.  According to the National Institute of Wine growers in Argentina, 60% of the country´s exports in 2017 correspond to the Malbec variety, while the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Torrentés and Syrah follow down the line. It is also a fact that more popular are the reds vis-à-vis the whites or rosés, but slowly Argentinean white wines are positioning themselves in the local and global market.

What could be a better introduction to Argentinean white wines than by listening to world-acclaimed Argentinean sommelier, Paz Levinson, in the Master Class she gave last week at the Country Club in Lima. We learned that while the region of Mendoza still remains by far the largest in wine production, the search for other terroirs is ongoing and non-stop. On this occasion, we tried some white Torrontés and Chardonnays that were fabulous; worthwhile mentioning is the Susana Balbo (2016) , an exquisite citric white blend of Torrontés and Riesling from the Uco Valley, the Viognier from San José Tupungato, a very light Torrontés, the Apartado (2016), a Chardonnay from Rutini House, and Lágrima Canela (2016), a mix of Chardonnay and Semillón to be enjoyed with a nice meal.

The rise of biodynamic wines

Photo: Marco Simola

The second day, a seminar was held introducing several other wine varieties, including Argentinean organic and biodynamic wine. These wines are elaborated without the use of artificial chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. In lands where biodynamic wines are produced, every living creature plays a role, and as we heard from the wine experts and wine growers, cows, chickens, dogs, and even llamas, run free around the grapevines. The principle is that everything is recycled and everything has a purpose. Biodynamic wines are quite popular in Europe which accounts for 70% of global production. In Lima, you can find organic wine bottles in gourmet and specialized shops or where organic products are sold. During the seminar, participants tried three organic whites from the Uco Valley: the Escorihuela Gascón (2016), the Siesta, a 2014 Malbec, and the Vista Flores, a 2016 Chardonnay, that soon became our favorite.

The premium reds

Photo: Marco Simola

From this variety, we tried three Cabernet Sauvignons and three Malbecs. We started with a Cabernet Franc, Monteagrelo (2016) Bressia from the Uco Valley, Mendoza; an Alegoria Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 from Navarro Correas; and a Viña Cobos Bramare, a Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 from Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza which we loved. The Malbec we tried were the L´Esprit de Chacayes 2016, Piedra Negra from the Uco Valley, the Estancia Uspallata, and the El Esteco (2014), a wonderful Merlot, Cabernet and Malbec blend from the north-western Calchaquí valley, each one simply better than the other; all were highly recommendable.

 

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Cover photo: Max Pixel

 

 

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Being well-traveled and living in many parts of the world, gives Roxana great leverage when it comes to food tasting and her love for food is well expressed in her articles