Grapevine Archive for Argentina
Alejandro Vigil is Catena’s gifted winemaker. He is brilliant, mildly eccentric, playful, full of energy and great fun to be with.
Each year it’s a great pleasure to blend The Society’s Exhibition Mendoza Malbec with him.
He has his own project too, called El Enemigo, and we have just purchased some of his wine for our Vintage Cellar Plan subscription scheme.
Society Buyer for South America
Stop press (5/2/14): our new South American offering is now available online until Sunday 2nd March.
I’ve learned to my not insubstantial cost that the main Christmas meal isn’t the time to get out your very best bottles. There’s just too much going on to really appreciate your most precious, cherished wines.
You pull the cork and, before you know it, someone has slung a quarter of it into the gravy (‘that wasn’t anything special, was it?’), Auntie Mabel has poured herself a large glass to which she has added lemonade ‘to take away the edge’ and the rest has been knocked over by some hyperactive child who has been eating nothing but Quality Streets since dawn. That’s no way to start your annual celebration.
Last year, a special sherry did the job, but this year I’m going for a magnum of sublime Argentine elegance and grace: Weinert Cavas de Weinert 1997. It’s not cheap at £49 (for a 1.5-litre bottle, remember) but I still think it is an absolute steal. Now a teenager, the happy marriage of malbec, cabernet sauvignon and merlot is just hitting its stride.
Unlike many of the Mendoza fruit bombs that are about as subtle as an Australian cricketer’s sledge, this is a wine of considerable elegance and refinement. Aged for three to four years in large oak vats, it is soft and mellow with the cedary, leathery flavours of maturity. Tasted blind most tasters would, I’m sure, plump for traditional Rioja or claret rather than anywhere in the new world.
The fact that it is in magnum is an extra bonus. Magnum bottles just look so good on the table. They seem to hold much more than a mere two bottles and are sturdy enough to withstand an onslaught from toffee-fuelled, sprout-avoiding youngsters. Best of all, they are great bottles if you are having your meal away from home. Arriving with two bottles under your arm can cause some hosts to be offended that you didn’t trust them to provide enough to drink or dark mutterings about your drinking problem. Turn up with a magnum and everyone looks at you as a wise and generous guest that they’ll happily feed the last remaining roast spud.
I have my eye on a nice Burgundy I’ve been hoarding to enjoy over some quieter times during the holiday once the kids have gone to bed and the Twister is packed away. But I have to say that the bottle I’m looking forward to most is that big bottle of Argentine elegance.
Head Of Copy
Members are reminded that the deadline for guaranteed UK Christmas delivery is this Tuesday (17th December).
For more ideas for festive drinking, visit The Society’s online Christmas shop.
This is Mendel’s Perdriel vineyard planted in 1928, the source for their wine called Unus. Their vineyard manager Cristian was managing the wintertime tasks of pruning. His dog Peter was a new arrival.
The dog had lived in the city before and was feeling the cold at this 1000m vineyard, so Cristian adapted a pullover for him!
The nets are a protection against hail, which destroys 30% of the vineyards every year.