Torrontés, the white grape of Argentina, is surely set to be the new Pinot Grigio.
The Cafayate region in Salta, north Argentina makes intensely aromatic and full bodied Torrontés, with freshness and concentration, thanks to altitude and UV.
Now that Malbec is fully established in the UK, other single varietal Argentine reds are being well received, such as juicy Bonarda, elegant Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Merlot.
Wines of Argentina showed the Top 50 Argentine Wines chosen by UK wine writer, Tim Atkin MW at Whitechapel Gallery in London in 2012.
Three recommendations from the tasting were:
Bodegas Etchart, Linaje Torrontés, 2012, £12. To buy the similar Privado, £8.99, see here. One of the oldest producers in Salta has a big range of wines, all well made and reliable. This has optimum balance of perfume, unctuous texture and zing. A benchmark example and good introduction to Torrontés. There is a beautiful hotel next door – Patios de Cafayate.
Achaval Ferrer, Finca Mirador, 2007, £55, Corney & Barrow. The engaging and charming Santiago (seen here on YouTube) makes some of the most elegant Malbecs in Mendoza. Defining the varied terroir and altitude on the slopes of the Andes, their wines are of sophisticated, international style with a European restraint and expert use of oak ageing.
Mendel, Finca Remota Malbec, 2009, £67, Cavas de Gaucho. Mendel is a beautiful, old fashioned winery making subtle, almost ethereal wines – quite an achievement for such a full-on, masculine red grape variety. Designed for long ageing, this is one for aficionados. For a more affordable line, from this top producer, try Mendel Malbec, 2009, £19.99, Majestic.
Wines of Argentina is holding a Cambalache – one night in Argentina – event in London in April (sold out).
Two of London’s best Argentine restaurants are the slick chain Gaucho and family run Santa Maria del Sur, as seen on Gordon Ramsay’s the F-Word.
One of the UK’s biggest ranges of Agentine wine is online at specialist Argentine Wine Online here. Cavas de Gaucho is also a great shop, at the Swallow Street branch of Gaucho Restaurant in London’s W1.
If you fancy learning how to tango, see one of London’s best schools, Tango Movement, here.
(photo – The Sofa / Flickr Creative Commons)