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STEVEN SPURRIER’S LETTER FROM LONDON Argentinean Malbecs I was in Argentina in early October, along with the Decanter team, to wave the flag for the Decanter World Wine Awards (which I wrote about last month) and to con- gratulate the wine producers for getting four International Trophies—the same as the whole of France—and a medal of some sort for 55% of the 369 wines that were entered. Argentina as a wine country is the world’s fifth largest wine producer (13,769,007 hecto- litres from 1,332 wineries), the seventh largest wine exporter, the eighth largest wine con- sumer (8 gallons per capita) and with 228,575 hectares, the ninth in cultivated surface. Argentina’s largest export markets are PHOTO: DECANTER the U.S., Canada and Brazil. I was told that, due to the success of Malbec, Argentina has recently overtaken Chile in sales in the U.S., and will soon do so in Canada. In the U.K., it trails Chile’s 8% of the market with just over 1%, but on a quality rating it is viewed equal to New Zealand, neither country producing much wine at the bottom end of the price scale. If proof were needed as to Malbec’s quality and potential, it was provided at a Master Class I held alongside Fabricio Portelli, Argentina’s top wine writer. Here were the wines, served in the order chosen by Fabricio. Luigi Bosca 2008 Single Vineyard Malbec Deep colour; spice on the nose and velvety texture yet refreshing on the palate; a polished, elegant wine with a good future. 17/20 TESTA WINES OF THE WORLD LTD. Bodega del Fin del Mundo 2007 Single Vineyard Malbec From Patagonia. Fleshy and earthy with a good depth of fruit combining leafiness and richness, softened by American oak; interesting to see it develop. 16.5/20 GAUCHO IMPORTS Riglos 2007 Gran Malbec Very deep, still very young colour, smoky oak and youthful fruit; young vines leave the palate a little hol- low, but an excitingly seductive style. 16/20 PAUL HOBBS IMPORTS Familia Zuccardi 2009 Malbec Barrica Silvayn Reserva Dense colour; wild violets on the nose; lovely fruit with complexity and length and an elegantly dry finish, great vineyard personality and depth. 18/20 WINESELLERS LTD. 20 / the tasting panel / november 2010 Terrazas de Los Andes 2008 Single Vineyard Malbec Sur Dense young colour with more depth and extraction than most; very good structure and still quite tannic; this shows a top “cru” standard with many years to go. 18/20 MOËT HENNESSY USA Finca Flichman 2008 Parcela 26 Malbec Superb black fruits on the nose; smooth and rich, with already accessible with flavours that stay on the palate; very much a “Right Bank” Malbec. 17.5/20 EVATON INC. Mendel Malbec 2007 Finca Remota Dense young red; spicy nose with Cabernet Franc florality and a sophisticated earthiness that is pure terroir; powerful yet stylish; great future. 18/20 VINE CONNECTIONS Norton 2006 Privada Malbec Dense colour; some maturity but still very vigourous; more traditional in style, as befits this very old Bodega; warm and long; very classic. 17.5/20 TGIC IMPORTERS Catena Zapata 2003 Malbec Adrianna Dense velvet red; lovely nose that would not be out of place on the gravel slopes of Pauillac; a rich smoothness with great persistence; tannins still there but perfect now; a great way to end the tasting. 19/20 WINEBOW The theme from Argentina is “Malbec and Torrontés: It Takes Two to Tango,” which is both catchy and true, but it does not do justice to the many other grape varieties that are flourishing under the eyes of committed wineries with creative winemakers. The local red Bonarda has a robust purity of fruit with natural acidity; Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend enhance the Malbec in a blend; Sauvignon Blanc seems more vineyard than varietal; Viognier is cutting a dash; Tempranillo has been imported from Rioja; and Ernesto Catena, son of Nicolas Catena, Decanter’s Man of the Year 2009, is placing his bets on Pinot Noir. Argentina is a country to watch. Navarro Correas 2007 Malbec Alegoria Fine blackberries and blackcurrants on the nose; smooth, suave texture with tannins and acidity to back it up; perfect Malbec fruit; ready now. 17/20 DIAGEO NORTH AMERICA

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