The Vines of Mendoza

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Amanda Barnes is a British journalist who makes her own bread and butter by drinking wine around the country. Actually, she spends her bread and butter on wine.

Trend tasting, what to sip in 2018


Although you will probably find the same old bottle of your ‘go to’ Malbec from Argentina being sold in your local wine shop, within Argentina the wine industry is constantly reinventing itself with new wine styles, varieties and vineyards. As we head into the last couple of months of 2017, here’s our tip off for 3 new wine trends in Argentina that are well worth tasting.

A lighter shade of pink

There was a time in Argentina when you couldn’t find a rose wine any shade lighter than deep, Barbie pink. The violet-tinted hue and colour concentration of Malbec was of course part of the reason, but the other reason was that that no one really drank rosé in Argentina. So making rosé was often an afterthought for the winemaker. That, I’m happy to say, is certainly not the case in 2017.

There are a host of interesting rosé wines on the market, ranging from the shade of rainbow trout and onion peel through to candy floss and Champagne pink. Rosé wines are still made predominantly from Malbec, but also from Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Bonarda. Whether you want a fanciful and delicate rosé, or a full-bodied and fruity rose, you’ll easily find your favourite shade of pink in Argentina.

Taste the trend: Susana Balbo, Signature Rosé. In a shapely bottle, this rose is a joy to the eye and nose with its delicate floral and red fruit notes with refreshing acidity.

Clockwork orange

Winemakers are going back in time to make orange wine from Torrontes, as they would have over a century ago. This white grape achieves an orange wine after you leave it in contact with the skins for an extended period of time - giving a darker, orange colour and a more exuberant and floral nose with some structure to the palate. It is a great style of wine to try with food and is definitely one of the most exciting gastronomy styles to emerge from Argentina recently.

Taste the trend: Passionate Wine, Torrontes Brutal. Matias Michelini is the modern pioneer of orange wines in Mendoza and he has a trio of delicious orange wines from different aromatic varieties. The Torrontes Brutal is the original and still one of the most interesting, with 100 days on the skins it is a fruit bomb on the nose but bone dry in the palate.


“When people ask me ‘what’s the next Malbec?’, I always answer ‘More Malbec!” quips winemaker Santiago Achaval, and I couldn’t agree more. Mendoza is Malbec in terms of wine, just like Napa is Cab and Burgundy is Pinot. Although there’s a diversity of great wine styles today (peppery Cabernet Franc, rich Chardonnay, mouthwatering white blends) Malbec will always be the No 1 wine for Argentina. That doesn’t mean that there’s no innovation in Malbec though…

The wine trend in Malbec this year has been producing fresher, fruitier styles of Malbec with little or no oak ageing. Fermented and/or aged in stainless steel and/or concrete, these wines retain all the vibrant fruit flavours of the variety and show its potential as a young and juicy wine that works wonderfully before your BBQ with light bites and nibbles.

Taste the trend: Concreto, Zuccardi. A top quality wine which has been fermented and aged in concrete, you can taste the fresh character of Altamira with its trademark notes of violet as well as plenty of crunchy black fruit.

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