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South America - Exciting Wines From Argentina & Chile

As we get to midsummer we’re sadly still not yet quite out of lockdown, with both events and travel limited. So a jaunt to the winelands of Chile and Argentina will have to be vicarious for now, helped along by the winemakers there, through their increasingly interesting and exciting wines.

Both countries are considerable producers of wine: each produced more than a billion litres, or about 1.4 billion bottles last year. Argentina produces a little more than Chile, but Chile exports much more at somewhere around double Argentina’s volume.

Chile also wins easily in the value league table, and it’s here that it gets interesting. Both countries, while continuing to produce and export a lot of low value bulk wine, are getting much better, and better known, for distinctive and exciting higher value offerings.

We’ve tried to showcase some of these this month. In our discounted mixed case we have

A white:

  • Pandolfi Price Larkün Chardonnay, 2018, Itata, Chile - an excellent Chablis alternative at a fraction of the price

A sparkling rosé:

  • Miguel Torres Santa Digna Estelado Rosé, NV, Maule, Chile - a unique Pais grape sparkler, delicious frothy fun

And four reds:

  • La Causa del Itata Gran Reserva, Pais, 2016, Itata, Chile - Pais again, an interesting quaffable red

  • Novas Gran Reserva, Carmenere Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017, Colchagua, Chile - excellent value and very easy drinking

  • Trapiche Estacion 1883 Cabernet Franc, 2018, Mendoza, Argentina - an excellent warm climate Cabernet Franc

  • Masi Tupungato Passo Doble, Malbec Corvina, Mendoza, Argentina - an apassimento red from Malbec & Corvina, the main Valpolicella grape

We’re also listing:

  • Miguel Torres Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé from Chile’s Central Valley, which will complement lots of summer foods;

  • Errazuriz MAX VIII from Aconcagua in Chile, a blend of Syrah, Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Mourvèdre no less, which is drinking beautifully now but will age well for a while yet;

  • Valle Frio Red Blend Reserva Especial from Maule in Chile, a (mainly) Bordeaux blend led by Cabernet Sauvignon, with Carmenère, Syrah and Petit Verdot. It’s a 2014 wine which is drinking perfectly now; and

  • Carinae Malbec Harmonie from Mendoza, an outstanding example of a straight Malbec, and very good value, it makes an interesting comparison with its stablemate, Carinae Cuvée Philippe, a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, which is already on our list.

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