Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

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Don C
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Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#1 Post by Don C » February 25th, 2019, 6:02 pm

I am headed to Argentina next month and will spend some time in Mendoza. I am not overly knowledgeable on wines from Argentina. Of course, I am familiar with Catena and Paul Hobbs. But, I'm wondering about what other producers I should be on the lookout for while down there...particularly wines that I may only find while in the country.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#2 Post by Kris Patten » February 25th, 2019, 7:07 pm

Wine is expensive in Argentina since they subsidize exports. Beef is cheap.

A bottle of $20 Argentinian wine here is $80 to $100 on a wine list.
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#3 Post by Dav1d S@wyer » February 25th, 2019, 8:29 pm

Achaval Ferrer makes some great wines.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#4 Post by Joe Mendez » February 25th, 2019, 9:07 pm

Cheval Des Andes a must try

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#5 Post by Chris Seiber » February 25th, 2019, 9:41 pm

bodegas Noemia makes a very good Malbec from Patagonia, if you want to try something from a cooler climate there. Still lots of fruit and all, but less dark, more energetic.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#6 Post by jbray23 » February 25th, 2019, 9:50 pm

Chacra
Jason, back itb

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#7 Post by dcornutt » February 26th, 2019, 6:49 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 9:41 pm
bodegas Noemia makes a very good Malbec from Patagonia, if you want to try something from a cooler climate there. Still lots of fruit and all, but less dark, more energetic.
Noemia Malbec is fabulous. Hard to find.
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#8 Post by K John Joseph » February 26th, 2019, 8:01 am

There are some seriously big time wines ranging from pure Malbec to mostly Cab Sav to stunning Cab Franc. Below are some that I think are pretty top notch and pretty consistently excellent:

Aleanna Gran Enemigo Gualtallary (Cab Franc + some malbec)
Nicolas Catena Zapata (Cab Sav + Malbec)
Catena Zapata - Adrianna Vineyard wines (there are some racy chards out of this and great malbecs)
Achaval Ferrer Malbec Finca Altamira
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#9 Post by Nick Kra Mar Ski » February 26th, 2019, 8:14 am

jbray23 wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 9:50 pm
Chacra
+1 they have great pinot

and Catena Zapata - Nicola Catena Parcel Bonarda

for some good non-Malbec reccs

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#10 Post by Keith A k e r s » February 26th, 2019, 8:49 am

Hi Don,

Definitely be on the lookout for anything from Carmello Piatti. Lagarde was also a fantastic producer that I really enjoyed as well.

Instead of just thinking about Malbec, be sure to dig into the Cab Francs down there. Lots of producers are making it and some are doing a killer job.

If you go to 1884 Mallman, talk with the somm as he knows his list really well and helped me out perfectly.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#11 Post by Jorge Henriquez » February 26th, 2019, 9:12 am

Also look into O. Fournier and Carlos Pulenta’s Vistalba (one of the best meals I had in argentina was at Vistalba).
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#12 Post by Alan Strauss » February 26th, 2019, 3:45 pm

Kris Patten wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 7:07 pm
Wine is expensive in Argentina since they subsidize exports. Beef is cheap.

A bottle of $20 Argentinian wine here is $80 to $100 on a wine list.
When one US dollar = 40 Argentinean Pesos everything is pretty cheap - relatively. I remember my first trip to BA in 2001 when it was 1:1 with the dollar. Times have changed.
Try buying from a local wine retailer. Use US dollars and negotiate. More expensive bottles are really out of range for most locals since the peso has gone south. I think deals
can be had. I found that restaurants were very happy to see folks from outside Argentina coming in as locals are finding the higher end places too expensive as wages have not
kept up with the devalued peso.

Chacra (pinot's) - Treinta y Dos, Cinquenta y Cinco
Achaval Ferrer (malbec) - Bella Vista, Mirador, Alta Mira
Catena Zapata Estiba Reservada (cabernet sauvignon)
Zuccardi Fosil (chard)
Riccitelli (Chard)

Have fun. Lots of great food and wine. The people and culture are fantastic!

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#13 Post by Jboonsook » February 26th, 2019, 7:13 pm

try Mendel
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#14 Post by Kris Patten » February 26th, 2019, 9:04 pm

Keith A k e r s wrote:
February 26th, 2019, 8:49 am
Hi Don,

Definitely be on the lookout for anything from Carmello Piatti. Lagarde was also a fantastic producer that I really enjoyed as well.

Instead of just thinking about Malbec, be sure to dig into the Cab Francs down there. Lots of producers are making it and some are doing a killer job.

If you go to 1884 Mallman, talk with the somm as he knows his list really well and helped me out perfectly.
Good advice and don't be shy of Bonarda and blends with or lead by Bonarda.
ITB

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#15 Post by Chris Seiber » February 26th, 2019, 9:20 pm

I’m trying to picture a guy on his death bed, groaning with regret at not having tried Catena Zapata Bonarda.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#16 Post by jcoley3 » February 26th, 2019, 9:29 pm

Kris Patten wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 7:07 pm
Wine is expensive in Argentina since they subsidize exports. Beef is cheap.

A bottle of $20 Argentinian wine here is $80 to $100 on a wine list.
That really doesn't match my experience the two times I've been. The wine part, anyway. The beef is definitely cheap. Dinner for two with a bottle of BenMarco Malbec was about $40 total at one place in Mendoza.

Most of the best, established wines are already exported. Starting a new winery is difficult because of acquiring water rights for irrigation.

Agree with Keith that there is some very exciting Cab Franc.
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#17 Post by Kris Patten » February 26th, 2019, 9:46 pm

jcoley3 wrote:
February 26th, 2019, 9:29 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 7:07 pm
Wine is expensive in Argentina since they subsidize exports. Beef is cheap.

A bottle of $20 Argentinian wine here is $80 to $100 on a wine list.
That really doesn't match my experience the two times I've been. The wine part, anyway. The beef is definitely cheap. Dinner for two with a bottle of BenMarco Malbec was about $40 total at one place in Mendoza.

Most of the best, established wines are already exported. Starting a new winery is difficult because of acquiring water rights for irrigation.

Agree with Keith that there is some very exciting Cab Franc.
To be fair it's been 5 years since I have been there, but it was shocking how much wine cost and how little unreal beef did.
ITB

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#18 Post by jcoley3 » February 26th, 2019, 10:44 pm

Kris Patten wrote:
February 26th, 2019, 9:46 pm
jcoley3 wrote:
February 26th, 2019, 9:29 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 7:07 pm
Wine is expensive in Argentina since they subsidize exports. Beef is cheap.

A bottle of $20 Argentinian wine here is $80 to $100 on a wine list.
That really doesn't match my experience the two times I've been. The wine part, anyway. The beef is definitely cheap. Dinner for two with a bottle of BenMarco Malbec was about $40 total at one place in Mendoza.

Most of the best, established wines are already exported. Starting a new winery is difficult because of acquiring water rights for irrigation.

Agree with Keith that there is some very exciting Cab Franc.
To be fair it's been 5 years since I have been there, but it was shocking how much wine cost and how little unreal beef did.
I think the unreal beef "tainted" the rest of your experience! [wow.gif] (Still remember my flank steak!)
Jim Coley ITB

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"You could spend a lot more money, and not get a better Burgundy...” - Carlo Rossi

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#19 Post by Peter Chiu » February 27th, 2019, 4:46 am

Dav1d S@wyer wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 8:29 pm
Achaval Ferrer makes some great wines.
I was told if you want to buy their top wines in Argentina, they will cost you 2 to 3 times more in Quebec, Canada.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#20 Post by Nick Kra Mar Ski » February 27th, 2019, 5:01 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
February 26th, 2019, 9:20 pm
I’m trying to picture a guy on his death bed, groaning with regret at not having tried Catena Zapata Bonarda.
Lol

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#21 Post by IlkkaL » February 27th, 2019, 10:58 am

Nick Kra Mar Ski wrote:
February 27th, 2019, 5:01 am
Chris Seiber wrote:
February 26th, 2019, 9:20 pm
I’m trying to picture a guy on his death bed, groaning with regret at not having tried Catena Zapata Bonarda.
Lol
Made me crack up as well.
Last name = L u !V! !V! e

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#22 Post by Michael O'Brien » February 27th, 2019, 12:51 pm

I would add Carinae, Gimenez Riili, Corazon del Sol, La Azul, and Diamandes to the list. Bodega Noemia from Patagonia was mentioned and personally I like their J. Alberto and the Bodega Noemia Noemia best. The A Lisa is a good effort at a lower price point. But Don C posted about visiting Mendoza and not Patagonia. Bodega Noemia is a very long way away (530 miles give or take) and the last time I corresponded with them, they did not accept guests.

If you have several days to visit wineries in Mendoza, I recommend that you hire Peter Cubillos https://peterwinetours.com/ as your guide. You can build your own winery list with him. You don't have to take one of the specific tours listed on his website. I have used him on two occasions for three days of tours each trip. He is extremely knowledgeable and is Emilie who sometimes guides for him.
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#23 Post by Keith A k e r s » February 27th, 2019, 2:14 pm

Michael O'Brien wrote:
February 27th, 2019, 12:51 pm
I would add Carinae, Gimenez Riili, Corazon del Sol, La Azul, and Diamandes to the list.


Big +1 to La Azul, especially if you can do their lunch tasting. That was easily one of my favorite visits

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#24 Post by Gobindjit S. Dhaliwal » February 28th, 2019, 6:02 am

From Mendoza you might want to check out the Michelini Bros at Bodegas Super Uco, they make crazy wines from a Torrontes orange wine to super serious cement egg aged Malbec, Eggo. Other notable producers, Aleanna (El Enemigo), Per Se Vines, and Carmelo Patti.
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#25 Post by Mike Grammer » February 28th, 2019, 9:41 am

An area I need to learn more about too, Don. I've liked but not loved the few Achaval Ferrers I've had. There are misses in some bottles, but I've thoroughly enjoyed a few bottles of Yacochuya (the Rolland project) when I've had them. Happy hunting and tasting!

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#26 Post by Mike C. » March 4th, 2019, 6:19 am

Has anyone had the Chacra Chardonnay (not the Mainque Chardonnay)? It's the collaboration with Roulot.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#27 Post by John Kight » March 4th, 2019, 7:23 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 9:41 pm
bodegas Noemia makes a very good Malbec from Patagonia, if you want to try something from a cooler climate there. Still lots of fruit and all, but less dark, more energetic.
Had this once several years back (I think it may have been in the 2009-2011 vintage range), when I took it to my neighbor's house for dinner. It was dark, inky and expressionless. Completely impenetrable and slightly bitter. After one small glass, I left the remainder of the bottle at the neighbor's house (writing off as a mess of a wine). About 3-4 days later my neighbour called and said "This wine you left over here is amazing, why didn't we wind up drinking it with dinner?" I went over and tasted it, and it had, shockingly, transformed into something completely delicious. I've saved my remaining two bottles, thinking it may be the rare Malbec that truly needs age to enjoy...I don't think I've ever had seen a wine improve after being open for that many days. (Most wines deteriorate a bit after 1 day, and are undrinkably oxidized by 3 or 4 days after opening).

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#28 Post by Paul R. » March 4th, 2019, 2:04 pm

Achaval Ferrer and Catena Zapata (the top end tour was well worth it) were our favorites although we enjoyed most of the wine we had both on tours and at restaurants. Didn't drink there but found CARO (Catena-Rothschild project) in the states and have really enjoyed it. We have been to Mendoza twice, 8-9 years ago and 5-6 years ago and we were shocked at how inexpensive everything was. Those were the blue market days (I think they are floating now) when they had an official rate and you could exchange currency in BA for 2:1 over the official rate. Uco is worth the trip both for scenery and wine, Ruca Mallen is decent wine but a great lunch.
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#29 Post by Michael O'Brien » March 4th, 2019, 3:39 pm

Keith A k e r s wrote:
February 27th, 2019, 2:14 pm
Michael O'Brien wrote:
February 27th, 2019, 12:51 pm
I would add Carinae, Gimenez Riili, Corazon del Sol, La Azul, and Diamandes to the list.


Big +1 to La Azul, especially if you can do their lunch tasting. That was easily one of my favorite visits
My wife and I did have the opportunity to finish a day of tasting at La Azul for lunch. It was a fantastic lunch. Mendoza wineries do it right. Nothing like finishing the day with a multi-course lunch paired with great wine.
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#30 Post by Sh@n A » March 4th, 2019, 6:07 pm

Take the wine tour at Carmelo Patti.. it will be a different type of experience (think boot strapped).
La Azul lunch is great
I liked trying some of the library Cab Francs, the variety of pinots, Patagonian wines and calbernet/malbec blends more than the straight malbec myself. That was many years ago, though.
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#31 Post by Faryan Amir-Ghassem¡ » March 4th, 2019, 6:07 pm

Bring crisp $50s and $100s

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#32 Post by JaneAzuka » March 13th, 2019, 12:09 pm

The wine here is very cheap compared to Europe. A good argentine wine (in a restaurant) Was 300 pesos (6 euro's) And in europe this wine would have cost me 15 euros. I went to Mendoza last year and if you love wine it is a great experience. With the awesome view of the andes mountains in combination with the huge vineyards, you will have a great time. I went there to have the full experience and wanted to have a conversation with the locals. Therefore I went to buenos aires and took some Spanish courses at https://expanish.com. I took these lessons because I wanted a genuine conversation with the original winegrowers who really appreciate if you ar able to speak Spanish and mostly because they do not speak English. These winegrowers were able to tell me a way more interesting story than the commercial wine tours.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#33 Post by Don C » March 23rd, 2019, 3:06 pm

Thank you so much for all of the great suggestions. Here is my report after painstaking due diligence. Let me start by saying I had very little experience with Argentinian wines before the trip so I am certainly not an expert. I had difficulty finding any older vintages so everything I drank was pretty young.

Best Full-Bodied Malbecs: Cobos Marchiori and Catena River Stones

Best Medium-Bodied Malbecs: Bodega Noemia and Achaval Ferrer Buena Vista. I couldn’t find the Achaval Ferrer Finca Altamira, but I would like to explore Achaval Ferrer further.

Best Bordeaux Blends: My favorites were Catena Zapata Estiba Reservada and Cheval de Andes. Malbec was originally one of the main grapes used in Bordeaux so I was curious to see what an Argentinian Bordeaux blend would taste like with Malbec in the mix. I’ll still take Merlot over Malbec but the wines were very interesting. I would love to try these wines, especially the Estiba, with more age.

Chardonnay: Catena White Bones closely followed by Catena White Stones. Regretfully, I couldn’t find the Chacra Chardonnay.

Best Cab: Cobos Volturno

Best Cab Franc: Gran Enemigo Gualtallary Single Vineyard (technically a blend with a little Malbec)

Best Bonarda: Emma Zuccardi Bonarda. I was inexperienced with Bonarda, the second most planted grape in Argentina. It was not overly complex but very easy drinking. A crowd pleaser.

Best Overall for me: Bodega Noemia. I traveled all the way to Mendoza to find out my favorite Malbec is made in Patagonia.

We spent a short amount of time in Chile as well. Sena was an excellent red blend and Errazuriz Las Pizzares was a very good Chard. Both worth trying as well.

Thanks again for all the help.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#34 Post by Pat Martin » March 23rd, 2019, 5:56 pm

Colome makes good stuff. Vistalba too.
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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#35 Post by Mark Y » March 23rd, 2019, 6:45 pm

i don't think there are any Argentina wines that needs to be tried at a "before you die" level...

plenty of decent wines, but nothing epic.. am i missing out?
Y.e.

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Re: Argentina Wines to Try Before You Die

#36 Post by MiranK » March 24th, 2019, 3:48 am

Dav1d S@wyer wrote:
February 25th, 2019, 8:29 pm
Achaval Ferrer makes some great wines.
+ 1 on that, as well as the wines from Catena. Altos Las Hormigas are other favourites of mine.
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