Wines and Wineries of Argentina

Old Jan 30th, 2009, 04:16 PM
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Wines and Wineries of Argentina

I'm intending to visit Mendoza in March, just after the harvest festival. I am interested in opinions on wines and wineries in Argentina.

I'll go first. I've been drinking Alamos wines (the second label of Catena) recently, and they are pretty good at the $10-15 range.

I'd like to learn where you would want to go and what you are or would drink of Argentine wines.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 06:07 AM
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Having visited a number of vineyards in Australia and NZ on our rtw trip last year, I was expecting great things on our visit to Mendoza but sadly, I was a little disappointed. Firstly, the wineries charge for tastings and the amounts they provide for tastings were a bit miserly to say the least(if there are a group of you, you would be better off buying a bottle at each of the wineries. Secondly, most of the wineries, for some strange reason do not offer their better wines for tasting and some were truly awful!

That said, I really did like some of the Malbecs but IMHO they only became decent above 50 pesos or so. The whites generally were not as good as the reds, the exception being Torrentes but that is from the North West ratehr than Mendoza. Sorry but I cannot recall the names of any specific vineyards but I do recall speaking to some people that went on one of the "deluxe" winery tours for 200 pesos or so annd their experience was much better (as were the wines).
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 09:21 AM
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I will remind Crellston about the wines.
Mendoza has made a great reputation in the manufacturing of wines, and probably the amount of wine they produce is not even comparable with the ones produced in the Calchaquies Valleys in Salta. But the quality...
Cafayate has lot of amall wineries and they are much more generous at teh tiem of tasting the wines with some few exceptions (EL ESTECO).
You can taste free at Domingo Hermanos, Nanni,Vasija Secreta and El transito...
Smaller wineries with a very limited production do not charge the tasting if you buy a battle of wine, which I consider very sensitive for the good wines they are. Jose Luis Mounnier, Finca las Nubes is a great choice.
The torrontes...
It was introduced in the area in by the Jesuits, and in the 1800 this kind of grapes got extinct in Europe, the only place where it still remains it is the NW of Argentina, it is, more precisely, Cafayate. 350 days of full sun, sandy soils and the temperatura range between day and night make possible that the grapes grow healthy and unique in this place.
Fruity in nose and soft, dry and "sunny" in the thoat, it is the vedette of the white wines...
Nothing could be compared to the flavour of a torrontes and no better partner than cheese empanadas or goat cheese!
Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Merlot, Sirah are the other red wines which can be found in Cafayate, and all the possible blends...
A bottle of wine is since $ 15 up...
Did this post responded some of your questions???
Flintstones
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 11:23 AM
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Actually, I was looking for more specific information about the Mendoza area.

However, when I'm in BsAs, I will be trying wines from all regions of Argentina.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 05:48 PM
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i cannot understand what happened to crellston because we had a wonderful experience in several Argentine wineries. For instance in Catena Zapata it was totally free and the visit to their winery was a wonderful experience.
In the Mendoza region there are literally hundred of wineries. We only paid a small amount like 7 or 8 dollars for an unforgettable experience where we tasted high quality wines in Achaval Ferrer.
I think among the wines we tasted was an excellent wine called Malbec Mendoza and another Alta Mira.
We also enjoy drinking in the USA the Alamos wines from Catena Zapata that are aprox 8 to 9 dollars here.
The Alamos Malbec i find it good and that is the price we pay here in US, which of course adds to aprox 30 pesos.
In some wineries we visited they have restaurants where you can have lunch. In all the Mendoza was a great experience for us.
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Old Jan 31st, 2009, 05:53 PM
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I meant there are hundreds of wineries in Mendoza, Argentina.
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Old Feb 1st, 2009, 05:12 AM
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This is a good website for Buenos Aires overview and wine!
http://www.geobeats.com/videoclips/a...rgentine-wines
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Old Feb 2nd, 2009, 09:02 PM
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So Graziella5b, maybe crellston might have had too good of a time because of his company. Stuff happens.

Back in the real world, my Scottish boss used to say "we didn't need wineries because we had an empire". Maybe Argentine wines don't match up to crellston's current expectations.

I just received my newest issue of Wine Spectator (and all Parker fans certainly have a right to poo poo WS).

There was a listing of good value priced wines from around the world under retail US$20. I was surprised to see that Argentina had about 50 wines listed above WS's rating of 87. There were 11 above 90 points, which, for < $20 retail is pretty darn cheap for that quality of a wine.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 05:11 AM
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Good question and I had struggled a bit to create a good winery tour in Mendoza.
Things to consider:
1) Rent a car or hire a private driver/taxi. I hired a private taxi. That way I didn't have to worry about driving after visiting some vineyards.
2) Are there any specific Mendoza wines that you like a lot & therefore want to visit. Before I went to Mendoza, I knew Catena but not too many others, although I was a fan of Malbecs. Other than tasting notes, that majestic purple hue in a earthy malbec is worth seeking out.

3) My favorite winery was Familia Zuccadri. Their quality line is called "Q" and I loved their Q Tempranillo even more than the Malbec, which was also great. They have a great restaurant on the property with excellent food paired with various wines.
Other Mendoza favs other than popular names like Norton, Alta Vista, Trapiche etc. are Monte Cinco and Fabre Montmayou. You'll find the popular names on most restaurant menus. So I chose to visit the ones that didn't show up as much on restaurant menus.

As for whites, Torrontes is popular. I also had some nice Viognier.

BTW, try to visit the restaurant Francis Malman 1884. Great food ($$$) and usually has some amazing wines that aren't found easily elsewhere.
Here's a story from the NY Times about Argentinean wines.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/di...=malbec&st=cse
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 10:56 AM
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NW is the best area for wines, and the unique torrontes is my favorite.
Just keep tasting them like Nanni´s $18 torrontes, or JL Mounier,... and You will probably understand Crellston. Mendoza wines are good, but the ones from Cafayate are better.
I learnt that about taste nothing was written yet.
Now,... at least you know you have other choices.
If besides wine you want architecture, traditions, food, good weather, gorgeuos landscape, just remember the NW is your destination.
Warm regards,
Flintstones.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 11:49 AM
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My husband and I visited Mendoza last fall. One of our favorite wine tasting experiences was at Vines of Mendoza, a wine bar right in town. Vines of Mendoza offers flights of wine (essentially 5 tastings) in a very classy setting where you can also order plates of cheese etc. We spent a wonderful afternoon here enjoying a good range of wines and learning from their extremely knowledgeable sommeliers.

In general, we found the wines of Mendoza were considerably more expensive than Chile, for example. And the cheaper wines were generally not all that great. However, the more expensive wines were often superb.

We splurged on a wine tour with Amphora Wine Tours and visited Finca Decero (my favorite with an outstanding Malbec), Pulenta (I love their La Flor cabernet sauvignon 30 pesos), and Bodega Benegas. Our winetastings were actually so generous that it was almost too much wine (and I never thought I would say that!).

We particularly liked the blends that they are starting to make in Argentiana -- blends of malbec with cabernet sauvigon and/or merlot are really fabulous. One of our favorite blends was called Supremo 2006 Finca La Celia 117 pesos. We also liked Bodega Septima 2005 Gran Reserva combo of cabernet sauvignon and malbec. Another good one is called Trumpeter Reserve 2005 Rutini Wines a combo of tempranillo, malbec and cabernet sauvignon.

We also liked the Bonarda grape both alone and blended. The restaurant called Azafran in Mendoza has a terrific wine selection including a super Bonarda (and good food too).

Sorry for rambling on -- hope you find something helpful here. We thoroughly enjoyed Mendoza and hope that you do too!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 01:11 PM
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Another vote for Azafrán.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2009, 01:46 PM
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flintstones

If "NW is the best area for wines" how come everything I read, and from a diverse group of periodicals and books, say that the Mendoza region is the king of wine in Argentina?

The articles do say that the NW is improving greatly, but still not there yet.

I think, once again, it comes down to a matter of taste and preference. If you love the NW, then so be it.

I've been tasting a lot of very good Mendoza wines over the past 6 months, so I'll try going there first.
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Old Feb 4th, 2009, 12:57 AM
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In terms of sheer volume the number of wineries located in the various growing regions near Mendoza certainly top the list but both Patagonia and the North West produce some excellent quality wines.

For example, the Wine Spectator's Top 100 list Wines of 2008 ranks a wine from the North West,Bodega Colome's 2006 Malbec, number 38...the highest ranked wine from Argentina for last year. The highest ranked wine from Mendoza is Achaval Ferrer's Altamira Malbec 2006 at number 64.

What I would drink...ah,well, some wines I have tried recently that I found enjoyable....

Luigi Bosca Malbec Reserva
A lisa, Patagonia
Altocedro Reserva Malbec
Felino, Viña Cabos
Achaval Ferrer Malbec
Catena, Malbec ( I wish I could afford Catena Alta...but Catena is an excellent wine)....
Alma Negra

And I have two bottles of the aforementioned Bodega Colome stashed away for special occasions.

Most of these wines are available in the USA for less than US25.







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Old Feb 4th, 2009, 08:19 AM
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There are less wineries in the NW, lower production but higher quality. Many of our wines are for export and only for some restaurants and wine importers abroad... Our wines are among the best collections! Even teh HOuse wine in most of restaurants, Doming Hermanos most commmon wine, is delicious. you can also see some more about them at www.undiscoveredwines.com
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 06:30 PM
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Based on the good doctor's post....

I posted earlier about WS and wine ratings.

I'm not going to go to the stratosphere of wine quality and prices in Argentina, but they certainly exit.

Rather, here is a simple current list of wineries that have at least 3 wines listed at 89 or better in WS. Their rating from 85-89 is ("Very good: a wine with special qualities") that are retail priced under US$20.

Alamos (4)
Bodega del Desierto (4)
Domino del Plata (3)
La Posta del Vinatero (4)
Bodegas Terrazas de Los Andes (3)

I certainly cannot claim to have tried all of the wineries, much less all of the different wines, but it's a reference point of sorts.
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Old Feb 6th, 2009, 03:36 AM
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Rastguy,

Did you notice that a couple of the wines I mentioned earlier are on the WS Top Value list?

I especially like the Luigi Bosca Reserva (WS rating 91) for US 18.

Others I have tried and liked:

The Viña Cobos Felino Malbec (WS rating 89) for US 18

Doña Paula (WS90) for US16

I have not tried the Ricardo Santos listed by WS but previous years have been very good.
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Old Feb 6th, 2009, 05:53 AM
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Drdawggy,

Absolutely. They are noted for my potential enjoyment.

There were 50+ Argentine wines on the Best Values list.

I just thought I'd list those wineries that had at least 3 different wines represented.

I plan to take the total list with me. The group of folks I'm going with are all red wine drinkers.

We may do the Argentina version of 'Drink Canada Dry'.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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This was posted by Budget Travel online today, entitled The Toast of Argentina. Below is the link for the Mendoza story.

http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/c...src=newsletter

Enjoy.

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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 05:05 AM
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Thanks, nice article, brings back very pleasant memories. We stayed at Finca Adalgisa (which was wonderful) and our wine tour included a stop at Carmelo Patti's, our experience was the same as described in the article.

The highlight of the tour is the 3 + hour lunch at Altos, perfect Fall day, sat outside looking out over the vineyard with the Andes in the background while sipping Torrentes and Malbecs, accompanied by wonderful empanadas and a fabulous lunch.

Hope your experiences are as great as my memories!
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