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Wines of Argentina

Argentina: my top 25

In partnership with Wines of Argentina

While Malbec remains Argentina’s flagship variety, winemakers are increasingly producing innovative blends, as well as exploring new varieties and styles. Alejandro Iglesias recommends his favourites

Susana Balbo Wines, Susana Balbo Signature White Blend, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2019 95

£16.95-£20 (2018)

A leading light among Argentinian white blends, made with Semillon, Torrontés and Sauvignon Blanc from Paraje Altamira at 1,050m above sea level. With a distinctive combination of mineral notes, hints of white flowers, fresh citrus, pear and green apple over subtle spices, it offers refreshing acidity and a full body. Drink 2020-2024 Alc 13%

Otronia, III & VI, Patagonia 2017 94


Juan Pablo Murgia and Alberto Antonini produce this exciting white with organic Chardonnay grapes from a Patagonian vineyard located at 45° of latitude to the south. The extreme climate, limestone soils and 16 months in barrel make this a pure, expressive wine with bright fruit, citrus, honey and cinnamon aromas. Long finish. Drink 2020-2024 Alc 13.8%

Andeluna, Blanc de Franc, Tupungato, Gualtallary, Uco Valley 2019 93


Andeluna, a top producer in Gualtallary, has taken the unusual step of producing a 100% Cabernet Franc rosé. Unoaked, this is a pale, Provence-style rosé, expressive with raspberry, redcurrant, strawberry and rose notes. Taut and crisp, with a juicy-fruit palate, it is subtle and elegant. Drink 2020-2022 Alc 12.5%

Escorihuela Gascón, MEG, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2018 96


Matías Ciciani Soler knows how to bring out the character of the grapes from El Cepillo (southern Uco). A red blend of Malbec (60%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) – elegantly complex with vibrant red fruits, the mineral personality of the terroir and well-integrated oaky aromas. Juicy and flavoursome with a chalky texture. Drink 2020-2028 Alc 14.7%

Bodegas Bianchi, Enzo Bianchi Gran Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2017 95


A new luxury Malbec from Bodegas Bianchi made with grapes from Los Chacayes. Aged for 12 months in French oak, this is a lush, vigorous wine that stays true to the stony vineyard soils, offering a mineral profile with crisp red fruits, a chalky texture and refreshing acidity. Drink 2020-2028 Alc 14%

Argentina wines

Rutini, Single Vineyard Gualtallary Cabernet Franc, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2016 95


Cabernet Franc wines are the latest jewel in Argentina’s crown. Mariano Di Paola, winemaker at Rutini Wines, is responsible for this refreshing wine from Gualtallary, sourced from a vineyard at 1,300m. It achieves a refined balance between berries and wild herbs, along with gentle spices and toasted hints from the oak ageing. Deliciously rich, with juicy tannins and a long finish. Drink 2020-2028 Alc 13.6%

Trapiche, Terroir Series Finca Coletto Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2015 95


This is an original Malbec; an exquisite combination of luxury and freshness. The key lies in where it comes from: a 50-year-old vineyard in El Peral, Tupungato, at 1,130m above sea level. The mild climate of the region produces a fruity bouquet of cherries, berries and fresh flowers that continues on the palate, along with a firm, opulent mouthfeel. A rich and eloquent wine. Drink 2020-2028 Alc 14.5%

Zuccardi, Aluvional Paraje Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2015 95


Sebastián Zuccardi is an Uco Valley producer and Aluvional is his collection of mountain wines from different terroirs. This Malbec, from Paraje Altamira, is aged in used barrels and concrete vats. It offers a wild profile evoking mountain breezes and herbs. Delivering vibrant red fruits with balsamic hints, in the mouth it is direct and full-bodied with a chalky texture. Drink 2020-2028 Alc 14%

Domaine Bousquet, Ameri Single Vineyard, Tupungato, Gualtallary 2017 94


Domaine Bousquet produces wines from its organic vineyards in Gualtallary, Uco Valley, located at 1,100m. This red is the flagship wine, a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot that spends 16 months in barrel to establish an unusual, refined style. Rich and perfumed, it’s full-bodied but well-balanced with juicy tannins. Drink 2020-2028 Alc 14.5%

Durigutti Family Winemakers, Proyecto Las Compuertas Cabernet Franc, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza 2018 94


Héctor and Pablo Durigutti are committed to reviving Las Compuertas, a historic terroir of Luján de Cuyo at 1,050m above sea level. This unoaked Cabernet Franc is one of their most recent releases. Violet red in colour with lively red fruit and hints of fresh herbs, it is taut in the mouth with firm tannins. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 13.9%

Argentina wines

Luigi Bosca, DOC Malbec, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza 2018 94

£16.99 (2017)

A textbook Malbec produced by Luigi Bosca using grapes sourced from an old vineyard in Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo, for the first ever Designation of Origin in South America. Aged for 14 months in French oak, it delivers an intense mix of mature red fruits, violet aromas and oaky spices. Opulent and rich on the palate, with juicy tannins. Drink 2020-2028 Alc 14%

Salentein, Numina Gran Corte, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2016 94


The unusual conditions in 2016 (a cold, rainy year in Mendoza) allowed Salentein winemaker José Galante to create one of his best ever versions of this red blend, combining Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Rich in colour, the wine displays bright red fruit and sweet spice aromas, along with attractive hints of Mediterranean herbs. It’s polished and refined, with mouthwatering acidity. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 13.5%

Trivento, Golden Reserve Malbec, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza 2017 94


Germán Di Césare makes this Malbec using grapes from different vineyards in Luján de Cuyo. Faithful to the fruity style he favours, this seductive wine offers aromas of cherry and blueberry in tandem with sweet oaky spices. A typically voluptuous Malbec from the region, it is refreshingly firm with a distinctive, sophisticated profile. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 14%

Alta Vista, Terroir Selection Malbec, Mendoza 2017 93


Alta Vista winery is a pioneer in the exploration of Mendoza terroirs. This Malbec, made with grapes from five different vineyards in the Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo, is an expressive wine full of fruity character. Blackberry and blueberry notes mingle with slightly toasted aromas and Mediterranean herbs. In the mouth it is vigorous, but balanced, with graceful tannins. Drink 2020-2024 Alc 14.5%

Colomé, Auténtico Malbec, Calchaquí Valley, Salta 2019 93

£30.30 (2018)

Made with grapes from old vineyards surrounding the winery at 2,500m in Salta, this unoaked Malbec is a classic expression of high-altitude terroir. Deeply coloured, it offers black cherry, wild herb and violet aromas, with hints of balsam and ripe figs. Luxurious but juicy mid-palate, with firm acidity and character. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 14.5%

Argentina wines

Vistalba, Tomero Reserva Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2017 93


Bodega Vistalba makes wines from grapes grown in the Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo. The Tomero Reserva is one of its classics, a Malbec that combines a traditional character and a nod to modern palates. With a bouquet of black cherry and quince fruit, along with elegant floral aromas and oaky hints, on the palate it is elegant and lively, with a pleasantly lingering finish. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 14%

Casarena, Single Vineyard Naoki’s Vineyard Malbec, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza 2017 93

£31 (2014)

A self-proclaimed guardian of Luján de Cuyo, Casarena specialises in single-vineyard wines from the region. Naoki is an interesting vineyard in Agrelo whose soils have a high limestone content, resulting in an unusual Malbec with a distinctively fruity aroma. Light and taut with a refreshing mouthfeel and firm tannins. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 14.5%

El Esteco, Old Vines 1958 Criolla, Cafayate, Salta 2018 93


Criolla wines are some of the most inspiring bottles being produced in Argentina. Alejandro Pepa was one of the first producers to take an interest in this heritage and rescued an old Criolla vineyard in Cafayate, Salta. Unoaked and fermented with whole bunches, this wine offers fresh strawberry, with floral and leafy hints. Light and crisp on the palate. Drink 2020-2022 Alc 14.4%

Finca Sophenia, Estate Reserve Malbec, Gualtallary, Uco Valley 2018 93


Made by Julia Halupczok from Gualtallary grapes grown at 1,200m in the Uco Valley, this is very recognisably high-altitude Malbec. It offers deep black plum aromas with generous helpings of cherries, blackberries and violets. Lively on the palate, with polished tannins and refreshing acidity, this wine stands out in its price segment. Drink 2020-2023 Alc 14.5%

Pyros Wines, Single Vineyard Block No 4 Malbec, Pedernal Valley, San Juan 2015 93


Located at 1,400m in the province of San Juan, the Pedernal Valley has become an exciting terroir to explore. The vines grow in a mild, sunny climate in flinty limestone soils, resulting in wines like this, which combines herbal aromas with earthy, mineral flavours, cassis and cherries. Dense in the mouth, it offers excellent freshness and a chalky texture. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 14%

Argentina wines

Altocedro, Año Cero Malbec, La Consulta, Uco Valley 2019 92

£13-£16 (2018)

Karim Mussi’s entry-level Malbec is a very pure expression of La Consulta, a traditional wine region in the Uco Valley. This is a simple wine with red fruits and floral notes that temper the smokiness of the oak. In the mouth it’s taut, savoury and fresh. A versatile food wine that can accompany a wide range of dishes. Drink 2020-2024 Alc 14.2%

Clos de los Siete, Vista Flores, Uco Valley, 2017 92


The 15th vintage of this wine made by Michel Rolland. Grown at 1,100m, it’s an intense and refreshing blend of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Aged in French oak, it delivers ripe red fruits, dried herbs and smoky notes. Rich structure, well-defined acidity and firm tannins. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 14%

Diamandes de Uco, Grande Reserve, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2015 92


The Bonnie family, who own Château Malartic-Lagravière in Pessac-Léognan, make this assemblage of 75% Malbec and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon in the Uco Valley, in a recognisably Bordeaux style. Aged for 18 months in French oak, this is a lively wine in which Malbec dominates with its aromas of violets, ripe red fruit, redcurrant, cinnamon and vanilla. Mild, well-balanced and full-bodied, with firm tannins. Drink 2020-2023 Alc 14.5%

La Celia, Pioneer Cabernet Franc, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2017 92


In Argentina, Cabernet Franc tends to be fairly expensive, but a few good, reasonably priced examples can still be found, and this is one of them. Produced with grapes from La Consulta in the Uco Valley, it is made in a fruit-forward style, showing hints of Mediterranean herbs and smoky aromas. On the palate it is juicy in character with gentle tannins. Drink 2020-2022 Alc 14%

Monteviejo, Petite Fleur Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2017 92


Marcelo Pelleriti makes Petit Fleur Malbec, Bodega Monteviejo’s entry-level offering, using grapes from the Uco Valley. A typical example of high-altitude wine, it combines red fruits and wild herbs with subtle toasted notes that underscore the fruity flavours. Medium-bodied, it offers lush tannins and a mineral finish. Excellent value for money. Drink 2020-2023 Alc 14.5%

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