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Mendoza: Cabernet Franc focus

Mendoza might be synonymous with Malbec in Argentina but, as the newly released 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards results suggest, there’s another rising red to discover…

Argentina is showing Cabernet Franc, both single varietal versions and blended with Malbec, like no other county does,’ comments Paz Levinson, DWWA Regional Chair for Argentina, in a 2020 decanter.com interview.

And just two years on, results from the recent 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards point to this variety’s promise, particularly in Mendoza, with four varietal Cabernet Francs awarded 97 points, along with many more Gold and Silver medals.

Cabernet Franc from Argentina is, explains Levinson, ‘like a combination of Anjou and St-Emilion with the factor of altitude, resulting in very expressive wines on the nose, full of spices and bell pepper, and on the palate very fresh, with chalky tannins but with body and weight.’

Scroll down to see the top-scoring Mendoza Cabernet Franc wines from DWWA 2022

On the 2022 results, DWWA Co-Chair Andrew Jefford adds: ‘The appearance of two different Cabernet Franc wines in the Best in Show selection underscores the seriousness with which this variety is now regarded away from its Bordeaux and Loire heartlands.’

A variety with growing international focus, and a region with standout success in the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards: discover below a selection of top Mendoza Cabernet Franc wines to enjoy…

Mendoza: Cabernet Franc focus

Pacheco Pereda, Estirpe Organic Fairtrade, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo 2021

97 Value Best in Show
The appearance of two different Cabernet Franc wines in the DWWA Best in Show selection this year underscores the seriousness with which this variety is now being regarded away from its Bordeaux and Loire valley heartlands. This Value Best in Show version from Agrelo delivers, as you’d expect, extravagant fruit pleasure. It’s dark black-red in colour, with warm, sweetly pippy scents bubbling from the glass. In the mouth, it’s a smooth flood of soft, vibrant raspberry and damson fruits which, despite the gentleness of both its acidity and its tannins, still contrives to give the drinker a sense of texture, amplitude – and satisfaction. A sense of gravity, too, lifts those fruit flavours well clear of simplicity: another Franc hallmark?  You decide. Alcohol 14%

El Enemigo, Gran Enemigo, El Cepillo, San Carlos 2018

97 Platinum
Pretty and inviting on the nose with gorgeous aromas of floral violet, cassis and completed with a lifted, delicate liquorice note. The palate is graced with deep herb, pepper, crunchy red fruit and graceful, silky tannins. Alc 14%

Los Helechos, Designado, Vista Flores, Tunuyán 2019

97 Platinum
Lifted, floral and bright, with very pretty aromatics of heady violet, green pepper and balsamic, then on to a plush palate textured with crunchy red fruit, elegant tart fruit, succulent tannins and focused, graceful tannins. Alc 14.4%

Zorzal, Gran Terroir, Gualtallary, Tupungato 2021

97 Platinum
POA Hallgarten Wines
Restrained, elegant and perfumed, with beautiful aromatics of red pepper, a herbal lift, pure red fruit and a gorgeous floral note. Then to a palate graced with plush, concentrated fruit, supple, silky tannins and pretty, fresh acidity. Very good ageing potential. Alc 14.3%

Trivento, Golden Reserve Black Series, Paraje Altamira 2019

96 Gold
Perfumed and inviting, with a beautiful aromatic nose of scented violet, cassis, dark plum, liquorice and pepper, then to a palate of clove spice, blackberry, cassis and tobacco. Alc 14.5%

Fabre Montmayou, Reserva 2021

95 Value Gold
Dark and brooding, with plush aromas of dark fruit and black spice, while the palate is laced with earthy fruit and graceful, rolling tannins. Alc 14.5% 

Zuccardi, Brazos, Uco Valley 2021

95 Value Gold
POA Hatch Mansfield
Lifted and floral on the nose, with hints of peppery, plush fruit, then on to a palate of silky smooth tannins and lush, fresh fruit. Alc 14%

Bodegas Bianchi, Particular 2019

94 Silver
US$32-$36 67 Wine, JC Wine & Spirits
Gorgeous, concentrated nose of jammy fruit and sweet spice; palate of red fruit, mint and tight tannins. Alc 14.6%

Familia Innocenti, Angulo Innocenti, La Consulta 2019

93 Silver
Fragrant and inviting nose of herb, green pepper and dried flowers; palate of dried fig, incense and candied red fruit. Alc 14.5%

Salentein, Numina, Uco Valley 2020

93 Silver
Pretty, inviting aromatic fruit on the nose, racy fruit and textured tannins on the palate. Alc 15%

Antucura, Barrandica, Vista Flores, Tunuyán 2021

92 Silver
Restrained and elegant on the nose, with hints of violet and dark fruit; palate of generous fruit and silky tannins. Alc 13.5%

Bodega Norton, Altura, Uco Valley 2020

92 Silver
POA Berkmann
Generous aromas of cocoa powder and roasted coconut, then a palate of vibrant fruit and bright acidity. Alc 14.5%

Clos de Chacras, Memorias de Ida La Estratega 2018

92 Silver
Inviting, with hints of redcurrant, cassis, tobacco and cedar on the nose, liquorice, prune and polished tannins on the palate. Alc 14.8%

Huentala, Gran Sombrero, Uco Valley 2021

92 Silver
Inviting nose of bright, clean fruit, then a palate of blackcurrant, herb, pencil shavings and supple tannins. Alc 14.4%

La Celia, Pioneer, La Consulta, Uco Valley 2018

92 Silver
Generous aromatics of toasty, smoked fruit leading to a palate underpinned with succulent tannins. Alc 14%

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