The Edinburgh Wine Club 

 Argentina Tasting, 19 July 2012





Intis Sauvignon Blanc 2011 6.75 Produced in San Juan – 90 miles north of Mendoza.  Second biggest wine producing region, warmer than Mendoza.  Dry, warm climate makes well suited to organics.  Zonda Valley is quality subregion as mountains on its east and west sides mean that whilst it has high daytime temperatures it cools rapidly at night preserving acidity.  Intis is the local sun god. BV
Zuccardi Torrontes 2010 9.50
Torrontes is unrelated to Terrantez or to Spanish (Galicia) Torrontes.  DNA profiling suggests it is a cross between Muscat of Alexandria and Mission.  Cafayate vineyards in Salta.  Region right in north of Argentina at very high altitudes – the vineyards for this wine are 1100metres above sea level.  Climate is much cooler than latitude would suggest.  Argentina’s premium Torrontes region.  Family owned, medium sized – 800,000 cases.  Mirrored wider Argentine wine industry with move from bulk to quality wine production in 1980s. BW
Argento Chardonnay 2011 9.25
Stainless steel ferment (14-16 degrees) with 25% wine aged 6 months in French oak.  6g/l residual sugar.  Mendoza.  10 times the size of Zuccardi,  Bibendum helped establish 1998.
Santa Rosa Tempranillo 2011 7.25
Tempranillo is sixth most planted grape (Malbec, Bonarda, Cab, Merlot, Syrah).  Around a fifth the plantings of Malbec.  Long associated with bulk wine production enjoying a minor renaissance as an alternative to Malbec.
Oltesse Cahors 2009 8.00
Traditional style with long vat ageing and some Tannat(5%) in the blend.  Also includes some Merlot (20%) to soften it slightly.
Chamuyo Malbec 2011 8.50
Around 20% 6 months in 60% French/40% American oak.  Large export focussed winery.
Caliterra Single Vineyard Malbec 2006 10.50
Colchagua Valley 120 miles south Santiago.  Malbec originally planted as a blending component (used in Bordeaux).  2006 long cool vintage.  12 months in both French and American oak.  Small quantities of other Bordeaux varieties blended each year. 3rd
Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 13.75
Catena established 1902.  Nicolas Catena took over from his father in 1960s when viticulture struggling.  Taught economics at Berkeley in early 1980s and experience of Napa led him to seek to replicate that quality in Argentina.  He was the first to plant at higher altitudes in Mendoza and in the less fertile soils in the west of the region as he sought quality over quantity.  Blend of two vineyards at different altitudes.  14 months in oak 80% French (30% new) and 20% new American.  Winemaking is now controlled by Nicolas’s daughter Laura. 2nd
Caro 2005 37.50
70% Cabernet/30% Malbec.  18 months in 60% new barrels.  Fruit sourced from Catena’s best vineyards with team from Lafite advising on winemaking and blending. 1st

Although recently overtaken by Chile, Argentina remains the world's sixth largest wine producer. Domestic consumption has declined massively from the 1970s, when it stood at a massive 90 litres per head, leading to a more quality and export focussed approach to viticulture since the early 1990s.
Almost all of Argentina's vineyards are in the west but are widely dispersed north to south. Located in the foothills of the Andes, Argentina's vineyards are the highest in the world reaching up to 3000m above sea level. This results in wide fluctuations between day and night temperatures, with intensive sunlight and heat during the day resulting in red wines with very ripe soft tannins, while the cool evenings prevent the fruit becoming raisined. Mendoza accounts for around 70% of production.Around 70% of wines are red with Malbec accounting for almost 50% of all plantings.
Annual rainfall averages only 200mm (a fifth of Bordeaux) and most of the vineyards are planted in desert like conditions. Irrigation water is supplied from the Andes.
Unlike Chile, where many of the vineyards are close to Santiago, most of Argentina's vineyards are located away from major cities. and have very clean air.