Of all the major wine producing countries out there, I have to confess that Argentina is one that I’ve looked at from afar without really engaging in that much. It’s not that I don’t think that the wines are good – I do – it’s just that when it comes to it I haven’t had the same opportunities to taste as many wines, and those I have tasted have tended to be from a pretty limited stable.
So it was great to spend a few hours this afternoon tasting a range of Argentinian wines (18 in all) from three producers whose wines I have never come across before. Some of them I didn’t really get on with at all, some of them were good but a little lacking in all out grab you by the collar and scream in your face passion and excitement but one of the estates really stood out from the others. We were meant to be tasting wines from other estates too, but logistical issues meant that a lot of the wines that were due to arrive, just never did. However Simon Howland, working on behalf of Wines of Argentina did do a pretty good job of bringing in wines from wineries making different styles of wine and in bringing in this wine (and it’s red brothers) he really hit the mark. Because I don’t know Argentina that well it’s hard to judge them against each other, and so, and it’s something that we all ought to do really, I have to judge it globally based on price. It’s certainly what consumers do, I just don’t think that it is good enough to be ‘pretty good considering it comes from xxxx’.
So onto the wine.
Pulenta Estate Chardonnay 2009, Mendoza
Made exclusively with estate grown grapes my immediate impression of this is that the fruit is pretty fresh, sure there’s some tropical flavours in there but the fruit is a lot fresher than if this came from Australia or South Africa. There is some lovely linear acidity pulling the fruit through you palate whilst the oak, which is definitely there keeps itself supporting the fruit rather than dominating it. The wines itself has some rich buttery notes, fresh citrus flavours with fruits like melons and a touch of passion fruit creeping in. This is really pretty good, and retailing at around £10 is something of a bargain – I for one will be buying some to keep in the house for when only a decent Chardonnay will do.
I now still have a desk full of Argentinian wines so I’ll be bigging up the real success stories and slagging off the dross over the next few weeks.