There’s more to Argentinian wine than Malbec
October 25, 2018
If you’re looking for a white wine to start your meal at Chimichurris, there are Sauvignons and Chardonnays on the list, but I would go for Torrontés, which is indigenous to Argentina. It’s a juicy, aromatic wine that always makes me think of a white grapefruit. This one from Finca Las Nubes is dry, but has an attractive aftertaste of pineapple.
For a red, Beatrice recommended her favourite, “Composed” 2016 Mendoza. “Malbec?” I asked. “Of course,” she replied with a smile. Dense fruit, like a perfectly ripe plum, smooth tannins, and a little fresh acidity, perfect with salty, grilled meat. Obviously.
Malbec has come to be synonymous with Argentinian red wine, but it originated in southwest France as the principal grape of the ‘black wine’ from Cahors, south of Bordeaux.
Later that evening: “I want you to try another wine, this one is special”. It was a Cabernet Franc, Dorado, ‘Tiger of the Rivers’, made by the Vicentin family.
Lighter than the Malbec at 13%, it had a ripeness often absent from Cabernet Franc from France’s Loire valley, and a clean acidity that would be refreshing to drink with a steak. (Order it when you go to try the rib-eye).
Beatrice wasn’t working on the night I went back, and I asked Antonio for a bottle of the Dorado that she had recommended. “No,” said Antonio, “I don’t like it.” His choice was Munay, which means “love” in Quechua, the language of the Inca empire which is still spoken in parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Munay is made from Tannat, another grape native to southwest France, where it’s used in the wine Madiran. Dark, with a fresh acidity and an aftertaste that reminded me of prunes, it’s another new best friend with grilled meat.
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