Which wines to drink during quarantine: 5 Argentine wines available online (UK)
Updated: Apr 4
Now that all flights in and out of Argentina have been cancelled, wine lovers, foodies and travellers have had to postpone their trips for later dates. However, that doesn't mean that you can´t enjoy a little bit of Argentina at home.
As many of you know Argentina is blessed with mountains, waterfalls, jungles, glaciers, deserts and much more. These different climates reflect in the wines, which boast so much diversity in style.
I have selected five wines which can be purchased online in the UK which offer both diverse and unique styles and of course - value for money. These are a mix for small, medium and large wineries. We do not sell these wines ourselves or have any affiliation with the wine merchants. Rather, during the time that we are not open, we would like to continue to promote Argentine wines and allow our lovely customers to discover new wines and styles despite being stuck at home!
Grapes slowly ripening in the Uco Valley
Finca Ambrosía - Viña Unico Cabernet Sauvignon, Gualtallary, Mendoza - 2015
The first time that I drank this wine was at the restaurant Uco in Buenos Aires. This was back when it used to be open for lunch on a Sunday and for a while it was Aby’s and I go-to restaurant for a lazy Sunday lunch. The wine list is curated by Andrés Rosberg - President of the International Sommelier Association. So needless to say, he knows a thing or two about good wines.
This wine for me, truly shows off the region of the Uco Valley in Mendoza and more specifically - the zone of Gualtallary. The wines are rich and bold, but always very elegant with a pleasant crisp acidity. This is not a powerful Cabernet Sauvignon that slaps you in the face, more like a gentle pat on the cheek!
Grown in the high altitudes (1250m) of Gualtallary in the north of the Uco Valley - 15 month ageing in a mixture of new and used French oak barrels. The wine will keep for a few more years, but personally I would drink it now - wait for a rainy day and serve it with rich dish of Ossobuco with polenta and enjoy!
Available online at- Berry Brothers and Rudd
Price £19.99 (plus delivery)
El Porvenir de Cafayate - Laborum, Torrontés, Cafayate, Salta - 2018
Laborum was the first Torrontes that we used when we started our tastings back in 2017.
For those of you that are not familiar with Torrontes, it is an extremely aromatic white grape which is unique to Argentina (for more information about this fantastic grape, take a look at our blog post - What is Torrontes?)
Laborum is a dry, crisp style of Torrontes, but still packed with tons of peach, rose petal, lime and grapefruit notes. Grown in the desert at the winery’s El Retiro vineyard at 1650m above sea level. This is a wine to cheer you up and leave you dreaming of warmer climes.
Pairing Suggestions - When the sun finally appears from behind the clouds, grab a chilled bottle of Torrontes and enjoy it as a little aperitif or paired with a Thai style sea-bass with plenty of fresh chilli and lime.
Available online at - Latinwinesonline.com
Price £15.45 (plus delivery)
Santa Julia- Malbec, Mendoza, Vintage - n/a
A few weeks ago we had a entertaining group of customers from the US and they introduced me to a new wine term “Porch Pounder” - an easy drinking, cheap and cheerful wine, best consumed outside. Well, at least that was my understanding! Although I doubt the winery uses this description on their website, Santa Julia Malbec is certainly a “Porch Pounder”. Pure fruit, medium-bodied, the smoothest of tannins and brilliantly made. I reckon even a white wine drinker would be tempted to move over to the red side after taking a sip.
Pairing Suggestions - Pop on a jacket, head out to the porch, garden, balcony or just stick your head out of the window while enjoying this delightfully juicy Malbec.
Available in store and online at Sainsburys.co.uk
Price £9 (plus delivery)
Bodega Del Rio Elorza - Verum, Cabernet Franc Reserva, Rio Negro, Patagonia - 2014
I like Cabernet Franc, but I LOVE Cabernet Franc from Argentina. It is much riper than what is found in other countries yet still manages to keep all those wonderful spicy and savoury notes which make it such a unique variety. This one's from the north of Patagonia from the province of Rio Negro. 12 months in French barrels and a few years in the bottle make it wine which is drinking incredibly well now. Very little wine is made in Patagonia, however the quality incredibly high and we are starting to see Cabernet Franc emerge as its new rising star.
Pairing Suggestions - Decant for at least 30 minutes and serve with lamb empanadas. For Aby’s recipe, send us a message!
Available online at - Winepoole.co.uk
Price £17.10 (plus delivery)
CARO - Bodegas CARO, Blend, Mendoza, 2010
CARO is a joint project founded in 1998 by Baron de Rothschild from the world famous Chateau Lafite in Bordeaux and the Catena family from Mendoza. The name CARO is a combination of CA - for Catena and RO for Rothschild. Caro also means expensive in Spanish and it is no surprise that this wine is somewhat caro.
The idea behind the project was to bring together two ‘noble’ wine making families and create a wine in Mendoza using the most famous grape of Bordeaux - Cabernet Sauvignon and the most famous grape of Argentina - Malbec. The wines are a blend of the two varieties and the percentages generally change every year. The 2010 vintage is a blend of 60% Cabernet and 40% Malbec. Unlike the other wines on this list, which show a very modern style of Argentine wine - plenty of fresh fruit with not too much oak, CARO is very much a Bordeaux wine made in Argentina. It has 18 months in oak of which 60% is new. At 10 years old I would say that only now is it ready to be enjoyed. If you like old world wines, or enjoy older vintages, this is an excellent option for you.
Decant at least an hour beforehand, drink at a temperature of around 16 or 17 degrees. If you have any venison in the fridge, fantastic! If you don't live on a country estate, then a rich dish such as beef bourguignon or roasted lamb would work too!
Available online at - Goedhuis.com
Price £52.67 per bottle. Available only by the case . Delivery included