I’m trying to make the most of the fleeting British Summer, and that includes having as many BBQ’s as humanly possible. I don’t think there is anything better than enjoying a good glass of wine while the grilled meat is cooking over an open flame, but before I get too poetic about it, it’s important that you choose the right wine. Personally, the right wine is always Argentinean Malbec.
Argentina is a wonderful country full of interesting, diverse and unique characteristics. Just look at their national sport “Pato” which translates as “duck game”. A game played on horseback that merges elements from both polo and basketball. Different styles in one melting pot to create a distinct end result are prevalent in the Argentinean wine industry.
Argentinean wine is booming and its history dates back over 400 years to when Spanish colonizers first arrived in the Americas, vines in hand and wine glasses at the ready. It was the Catholic priests who took to planting vines close to the monasteries so as to ensure that wine would always be available for the celebration of Holy Mass. Over 400 years later, we say thank you very much!
I was really introduced to Malbec only a year ago, when hosting a BBQ a friend arrived with a bottle. Now I pop a bottle of the Fincas del Sur in every single order. It’s 100% Malbec and with it currently being on offer at £9.09, I’ll take that every single day. I opened it up and served it with the grilled meats and everyone walked away with a smile on their face, if not a stumble in their walk.
Malbec is perfect for your BBQ meats, due to its big, bold flavours and unlike its French counterparts, the perfect soil and extra sunlight it gets in Argentina gives it a fascinating depth of character. Our Finca del Sur is made in Mendoza, which leads it’s Malbec to a rich and ripe peppery flavour, absolutely perfect!
Travel a little further south to Rio Negro and the Malbecs take on more of an old world appeal with the cooler climate. A little more acidic, drier tannin and more likely to benefit from being laid down for a little while. Both styles have their merits and both styles are absolutely delicious if you are a fan of big bold reds.
Torrontes is the variety most suited to the northern regions, but considered 100% Argentinean it is cultivated throughout the country. The long hot days and the cool nights help preserve its wonderful aromas and flavours, while maintaining an invigorating freshness. It is unmistakable on the nose with roses, jasmine and geranium all coming to the forefront. If you pair this with a spicy dish, it will really come out of its shell, but if you are going all out Argentinean, it’ll work wonders with empanadas!
I consider myself a little bit of a foodie, but last time I tried my hand at empanadas….well let’s just say I wouldn’t offer them to anyone from Buenos Aires. However the wine was simply incredible, it was the Reina Mora Special Selection Torrontes. It possessed all those lovely classic Torrontes characteristics, aromatic, perfumed and just invigoratingly refreshing. So the food may have been a failure that could grace the outtakes of MasterChef, but the wine was a success.
Argentina is in a privileged position. Its dry climate protects the vines from disease and pests, some of the vines benefit from being in the shadow of the Andes where snowmelt plays its part in producing some of the finest flavoursome wines on the market.
However it’s not just about these two grape varieties. If you travel to Cafayete, you will experience wonderful black cherry Cabernet Sauvignon. A wine tour of the country will introduce you to wines made from Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo and classic Italian grapes Sangiovese and Barbera. It really is a tour-de-force of some of the finest grapes available.
Argentina possesses a very unique climate to produce a wide variety of wines including Pinot Grigio and the tricky Viognier. However it’s most famous for Malbec, a grape that has its roots and origins in France, but who’s blossomed in the New World.
Argentina has a lot of variety to offer but if you are going to Tango with one wine in particular, make it a good Malbec from Mendoza