WINE CHOICE

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - CONTENTS -

Ar­gentina is best known for Mal­bec, but its whites are also top-drawer

In wine terms, Ar­gentina is best known for its full-bod­ied, spicy red wines from the adopted Mal­bec grape – wines that work very well with the juicy beef steaks grilled on their beloved ‘asado’ bar­be­cues. Ar­gentina, how­ever, also pro­duces some de­cent white wines wor­thy of ex­plo­ration. Thanks to Mal­bec’s grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity here, we’re see­ing more of Ar­gentina’s in­creas­ingly di­verse of­fer­ings ap­pear­ing on wine shelves, too.

Ar­gentina’s sig­na­ture white wine grape is the Tor­rontes, which pro­duces an aro­matic style of wine boast­ing some ex­otic flo­ral and fruit flavours. Their qual­ity has been im­prov­ing greatly in re­cent years, with winer­ies work­ing to bal­ance what had too of­ten been a slightly flabby wine lack­ing in acid­ity. When the bal­ance is right, they make for an in­ter­est­ing aper­i­tif and a par­tic­u­larly good match for Asian food flavours. But Ar­gentina’s wine-mak­ers have also been ex­per­i­ment­ing with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardon­nay.

Ar­gentina’s wine in­dus­try owes its roots to the mid-to-late 19th century wave of Euro­pean im­mi­grants from Spain, Italy and Switzer­land, and its re­cent re­ju­ve­na­tion is largely thanks to in­vest­ment from France, Chile, the USA and Spain. These in­vestors recog­nise Ar­gentina’s po­ten­tial for high qual­ity wines, par­tic­u­larly from the higher al­ti­tude sub-re­gions such as Tupun­gato and the Uco Val­ley, a sub-re­gion of Men­doza from where 70% of Ar­gen­tinean wine hails. The fol­low­ing of­fer a lit­tle taster of the di­ver­sity on of­fer.

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