The wines of Argentina 2008 part II

These notes accompany a massive report from Argentina. In part I there are an additional 130 tasting notes. For profiles of all of these estates please see Regional report: Argentina: 40 estates and 360 wines.


Familia Zuccardi

white wines

Santa Julia Innovation Verdelho 2007
Very nice aromatics with chilled melon and apple, and nice acidity and zesty fruit. 86/100

Santa Julia Viognier 2007
Bright, spangly, pear and gently honeyed nose with confectionery aromas. The palate has plenty of life and verve, in a really nice commercial wine with lovely crisp appeal. £5.99, Thresher. 86/100

Zuccardi Pinot Grigio/Torrontes 2007
Torrontes comes through powerfully, with a fat, quite exotic star fruit and mango quality. The palate has a very nice, crisp pear and apple character, with some lemon zest cut and thrust, and a tantalising point of difference. £5.99, Oddbins. 86/100

Zuccardi Serie A Chardonnay/Viognier 2007
Nicely honeyed and sweet-fruited nose, with some floral character, and plenty of passionfruit and melon aromatics. The palate is very fresh and very concentrated, with a cool apple-fruited quality and very nice acid balance. Quite longs and intriguing. £7.99, On-trade and independents. 87/100

Zuccardi Q Chardonnay 2006
Very elegant nose, with a touch of honey and plenty of ripe, pear and star fruit character. There’s a very nice freshness and juiciness, with just enough creamy oak. Plenty of orangy acidity and zest and life about it. £9.99, Gaucho Wine Boutique. 88/100

Zuccardi Torrontes Tardio 2007
Lovely peach, apricot and floral nose, with delightful fresh, shimmering sweetness and enough juicy tangerine acidity. Oddbins. 88/100

rosé wines

Santa Julia Syrah Rose 2007
Bright cherry fruit, with a touch of paint box and delicate appeal. Lovely fruit, with a dry raspberry quality that floods the palate, but stays light and focused. Lovely. £4.99, Somerfield. 86/100

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec Rose 2007
Quite subdued, with very fine floral and cherry aromatics and a touch of creamy raspberry. Very fine and mouth-watering palate too, with plenty of fruit sweetness, and just a nip of tannin to join acidity in keeping this fresh. £6.99. 87/100

red wines

Santa Julia Organic Bonarda Sangiovese 2007
Quite closed, but a meaty ripeness comes through, with briar and a touch of mint. On the palate the fruit is quite dry and a touch inky, but this has plenty of presence and life and makes for savoury, balanced drinking. £6.99, Waitrose. 87/100

Zuccardi Touriga Nacional 2006
Meaty, meat stock and plum fruit with lots of smoky blackberry fruit. On the palate a touch baked, but there is some really nice quality here, and quite a meaty, dry, food-friendly character. £5.99, Oddbins. 87/100

Zuccardi Reserva Bonarda 2006
Slightly closed, with some baked plum and earthy fruit, with plenty of rich, ripe, mouth-filling fruit. Quite high cherryish acidity that freshens up the slightly baked fruit. £6.99, Oddbins. 86/100

Zuccardi Tannat Exclusive Parcel 2006
Tight, nutty, closed and firm black fruit. Some tiny floral notes, with a great meaty core of fruit. On the palate there is a bit of inky extraction, but it has very nice, tight, very focused fruit that powers through the mid-palate with huge tannins and good acidity. £8.99, Oddbins. 88/100

Zuccardi Serie A Bonarda 2006
Rich, deep, concentrated nose of deep fruit and plummy, slightly baked plum pie. Earthy and concentrated. Palate is nicely juicy and slick, with ripe tannins and a certain freshness, but it rather falls away through the mid palate with perhaps not enough fruit, before spiciness takes over. £7.99. 86/100

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec 2006
Quite a deep plummy nose, with not a lot of the floral elegance of the grape, and a slightly suppressed aromatic. Palate has quite good fruit and a composed, compact personality. Doesn’t totally sing for me, but a nice, solid wine. £7.99. 86/100

Zuccardi Q Tempranillo 2005
Deep, rich, quite animal nose, quite earthy and sinewy. Plenty of sweet, ripe, very earthy and muscular fruit, with depth and a glossy sheen of oak, and plenty of power married to a certain succulence. £9.99. 88/100

Zuccardi Q Tempranillo 2002
Plush, nutty and spicy with masses of sweet, ripe, very plump and ripe berry fruits. The oak seems reined back, but it adds lots of substance beneath the fruit, and the cherryish brightness of the fruit and acidity cuts through nicely. A very nice style, with balance and length. 89/100

Zuccardi Q Tempranillo 2000
Slightly more refined on the nose, with gentle cedary qualities, offering lots of mocha and spice, but a huge depth of berry fruit. Plush, velvety wine with lovely silky texture and a refined, racy character to the finish that balances the sumptuous fruit and oak. 89/100

Zuccardi Q Tempranillo 1997
Nicely earthy nose, with bloody notes and some tobacco. Lots of rich, ripe berry fruits, with super ripe mint and blackcurrant. Lovely toast and chocolaty mouthfeel. 88/100

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2005
The kirsch and Parma violet aromatics are lovely, with tight, glossy, fine grained tannins and a very liquoricy, tight, quite aggressive streak of acidity and extraction. Imposing and powerful. £11.99. 88/100

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2004
Brightly focused, with a touch of florality to bold, creamy black fruit. Nice undertow of fudge and spice, with slick, liquoricy concentration and really nice power and length through the concentrated tannins and acids. 88/100

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2002
a touch of briar and sweet fruit, with earth and a certain bloodiness. Nice, but perhaps lacks a bit of plushness and charm? 87/100

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2000
Oxidised note and bloodiness, but holding on to fruit well on palate. 87/100

Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Much more expressive than the Serie A, with a touch of violet and full, ripe, cherry and plum fruit. The fruit on the palate has terrific sweetness and ripeness on the palate, with a really juicy bite of acidity and huge, spicy tannin and oak structure. A big wine, but convincing. £9.99, Waitrose. 90/100

Zuccardi Textual Caladoc 2006
Four wines from the experimental programme, each of which has a very limited release. The Caladoc (a French cross of Grenache and Malbec) is rich, dark, with inky black flavours and juiciness. 86/100

Zuccardi Textual Marselan 2006
Another French cross, this time between Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon, produces a smoky and slightly reduced wine, but with a grippy, liquoricy presence on the palate. £8.99 if on sale. 87/100

Zuccardi Textual Carmenère 2006
Chile’s signature grape is given the Zuccardi treatment, to produce a wine with lots of smoky bacon and thick black fruit richness. Very appealing and deeply fruity. 86/100

Zuccardi Textual Ancellota 2006
A variety mainly grown in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, I found this to have a slightly wet-dog, furry character, perhaps hinting at brett, with a slight tendency to inkiness. Not my favourite. 85/100

Zuccardi Zeta 2004
70% Malbec, 30% Tempranillo, aged 24 months in French oak for Malbec, American for Tempranillo. Big, plush, velvety richness with lots of fat, sweet, powerful fruit and vanilla. On the palate this has masses of spice and tight, controlled structure. Masses of tightness but perhaps a bit hot and spicy. Shows great promise and certainly makes an impact. £24.99. 91/100

Zuccardi Malamado
Fortified ‘Port’. Nice stewed fruit, tea and some floral aromatics, with a lovely chewy black fruit and perfect chocolaty fruit. 88/100

sparkling wines

Santa Julia Sparkling Brut
Charmat method 55% Pinot, with Chardonnay and a little Viognier. Bright, racy nose, with a palate that has plenty of fruit sweetness, and a nice herbal quality. Quite full and rich, and good fun. £7.99. 86/100 Santa Julia Organic Sparkling Chardonnay
Bright, apple and crisp, creamy fruit. Nice crisp and racy lemon and apple fruit, very racy and some finesse here. £7.99. 86/100

Santa Julia Sparkling Rosé
Bright zingy almost iridescent colour, with Very zingy cherry and raspberry fruit, with a bit of herbal edge and a fine cut of acidity. 10g/l of sugar. £7.99. 85/100

Alma 4 Sparkling Viognier 2005
Traditional method from Jose Alberto’s son Sebastian. Bright, aromatic, has the pear and peachy Viognier character. Lovely roundness and very good small bubbles, with mousse rolling on tongue. Delicious. $24 US. 87/100 Alma 4 Sparkling Chardonnay 2004
Yeasty, full nose, with very fine fruit and a delicate orange and pear character. Lots of life and delicious fruit ripeness. Very racy, with pithy grapefruit and lemon acidity. Very good. $24 US. 88/100

Alma 4 barrel fermented Sparkling Chardonnay 2003
Has a nutty, almond note and plenty of herbal character. Very tight and focused, with lots of ripe, bright quite crisp fruit. Excellent lemony acidity and a real cut. $24 US. 90/100

Alma 4 Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose 2005
Very delicate strawberry and raspberry fruit, with a creaminess. Palate is dry and racy, with very delicate fruit and lovely crispness. A very nice, savoury wine with a bite of grapefruit pith acidity. $24 US. 89/100

Alma 4 Sparkling Bonarda 2004
Earthy, deep, a spice and cinnamon note with berry fruit. The fruit is quite grippy and full, with an edge of tannins to earthy red fruits and good acidity keeping this appearing dry yet fruity and crisp. Great fun. $24 US. 88/100

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Terrazas & Cheval des Andes

Cheval des Andes

Cheval des Andes 2004
First vintage with more Malbec than Cabernet Sauvignon. Very refined nose, with a glossy plum and ripe, cherry fruit. Lovely floral nuances, with tobacco and spice and a hint of briarwood. The palate has silky cherry fruit, with very fine tannins and a really silky, voluminous texture of coffee and chocolate, but retaining some bite and freshness, with a long, silky finish. 94/100. 13.5% ABV. Around £50.

Cheval des Andes 2005
Malbec 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 35%, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Very coffeeish and deep, but has a blue/black freshness and purity of fruit too. Exceptionally smooth and silky. With ripe, full, very slightly baked quality. Perhaps misses the freshness of the 2004, but has a huge, spicy concentration and layered depth. Perhaps a touch hot. 92/100

Cheval des Andes 2006
Bottled only one week before tasting, Malbec dominates at 48%, with 39% cabernet Sauvignon and no Petit Verdot in this blend. Big, concentrated, very powerful wine with huge concentration of fruit, but very tough to judge. Will be released 2009. Potentially 93-94/100

Terrazas

Terrazas Chardonnay Reserva 2006
Tupungato fruit, 100% barrel fermented. In screwcap, very attractive almond and hazelnut nose, with ripe fruit hinting at custard apples, and with little tropical notes. Very sweet fruit on the palate, with a peach and almost lychee fruit. A big core of lemony acidity is perhaps slightly angular, but a lot of wine for the money. £9.99. 89/100

Terrazas Malbec Reserva 2005
Lifted floral nose, with a sweet raspberry and cherry fruit, and just an infill of charry oak. The palate has a lovely kirsch like fruit sweetness. The tannins are fairly big and drying, with a plumskin bittersweetness and fine acidity. Lovely wine. 90/100

Terrazas Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Nice hint of leafy and earthy quality, with a smoky dry quality and olive and earthy fruit. This has lots of thick black fruit, that is grainy and rich with roughening tannins. Good balance and persistence. 89/100

Terrazas Afincado Malbec 2005
Afincado is top of the range, and this has a touch of rosemary and mint to juicy black fruit. Classy, cedary oak. The palate has lovely texture, with a mouthfilling weight of creamy black fruit. There’s a lot of tang and crunch to the fruit, with grainy, fine, drying tannin and juicy acidity. Very long and svelte, very impressive. 92/100 £22

Terrazas Afincado Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Big spicy, vanilla and cedar nose. Fruit is quite smoky and earthy. Lovely fleshy quality, with plenty of thick, rich black fruit on the palate. Delicious slick of fat, sweet vanilla ids well integrated with the sweet fruit, and the tannins are very grippy, with a touch liquorice and black coffee. Very dense and lip smacking stuff. 92/100

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Viña Cobos

the wines

Viña Cobos Bramare Malbec 2005
From Lujan de Cuyo. 40% oak, three quarters French. Very big, sweet and rich. With toffeed oak and coffee flavours and a fairly massive palate richness with super sweet fruit and oak, and plenty of spice and richness. extremely impressive, if a little too big for my tastes. 89/100 $35

Viña Cobos Bramare Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Slightly more restrained nose, though delightful touches of cedar and exotic spices, and quite a smoky oak quality. Very good ripeness and richness, and a nice structure too. Quite sinewy, liquoricy tannins adding a lot of plum skin depth, in a huge wine. Very impressive of its style. 90/100

Viña Cobos Bramare Marchiore Vineyard Malbec 2005
Some paintbox, red currant and dry fruit aromas. A touch herbal, not sure if in perfect condition. Fruit is ripe, but crisp and appetising, with lots of ripe, svelte fruit. Reserve judgement. $75.

Viña Cobos Bramare Marchiore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
There’s a high note, quite herbal and bright, with hints of caraway seed and something exotic. Very unusual, but appealing. Lovely fruit on the palate, with a real cut to the acidity, and lots of savoury, plum skin and cherry skin tang. Very impressive, with chocolate developing in the background. 92/100 $50

Viña Cobos Malbec 2005
That same distinctive nose of exotic spices and seeds, with toasted caraway and lots of spice and coffee and chocolate. Quite smoky too. Rich, ripe, chocolaty fruit, with good definition, suggesting black fruits and a spicy, exotic Sandalwood elegance,. Very nice tannins, definition and length. Lovely, structure wine that is very big, but does have layered complexity. 93/100

Viña Cobos uNico 2005
Named after Nico, the vineyard owner. 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and 37% Malbec. Nutty, rich, quite orthodox black fruit with a dark chocolate and smoky oak quality. The palate has a beautifully juicy silkiness, with a refined but smooth and thick blackcurrant fruit and ripe, burstingly juicy plum quality. Very good wine, with refined, silky tannins and a fine layered complexity into a chocolaty, rich finish. Big, impressive and very delicious, though needs time.94/100. $150

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Alta Vista

white wines

Alta Vista Premium Chardonnay 2007
Five months in barrique for one third of wine, rest is tank. From Clos de los Siete vineyard. Very juicy and fresh, with lots of grapefruity acidity and crisp lemon fruit, with an undertow of gentle oak. Slightly raw in the back palate. 87/100 $12

Alta Vista Premium Torrontes 2007
Harvest on three different dates, spread over 6 weeks. Lovely nose, with both exotic aromatics and a touch of jasmine, but also a touch of banana and really exotic fruit. Quite beguiling. Lots of crispness and juiciness on the palate, with a tang of orange acidity and nice hints of peachy and passionfruit richness. A fine Torrontes. 88/100 £12

red and rosé wines

Alta Vista Malbec Rosé 2007
Direct pressing, not a saignee (would be too alcoholic). Made from younger vines. Leave skins in the press for 8 hours or so. Quite subdued, with a slightly meaty and tannic quality. 86/100 £9

Alta Vista Premium Malbec 2006
100% Malbec from the four different vineyards. 3rd and 4th fill barriques for ageing. Nice big, plummy nose, with touches of cedar and little notes of blueberry florality, but very black fruit and plum driven. 14.5% alcohol, and a touch astringent on the back palate, but there is nice grip and persistence, in an impressive wine. Largest production, at 600,000 bottles out of 2 million total. 87/100 $14

Alta Vista Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
A little bit of US oak, but mostly French. Very nice, big, slightly leafy Cabernet nose, with excellent varietal character, flooded with blackcurrant fruit and spices. Massive fruit sweetness, with a touch of harshness on finish, and perhaps lacking a little flesh, but good fruit, chewy, rustic tannic grip and a well balanced wine that needs food to show at its best. A lot of wine for the money if £7.99 in the UK. 87/100 £14

Alta Vista Grande Reserve Malbec ‘Terroir Selection’ 2005
100% Malbec, with great colour. Mix of new, 1 and 2nd use barrels. Big, plush, sweet and toasty nose, laden with plum and vanilla, with a suggestion of exotic kirsch and quite perfumed. Maintains quite nice freshness on the palate, with a savoury black fruit character, but again lacking just a touch of flesh perhaps. Dry, savoury tannins and acidity kick in, with a slightly aggressive finish at this stage. 88-89/100 $25

Alta Vista Grande Reserve Malbec ‘Terroir Selection’ 2004
No longer in stock. Won Trophy at IWSC. Lovely big Malbec nose, with the juicy black cherry and plum fruit and hints of violet and kirsch coming through, as well as a sweet, vanillin oak. The palate has a lot of sweet, fleshy fruit – the flesh that is lacking in the 2005 vintage – and a powerful, concentrated finish where the opulent fruit, spicy oak and tight, supple tannins. 90/100

Alta Vista Single Vineyard Serenade Malbec 2005
Harvested at 6,000 hl per ha. 40-year-old vineyard. Only new barrels used, aged 12 months. Single vineyard in Agrelo on a clay soil. Very nice, refined, quite light nose, with some suggestion of minerality and that bleu/black fruit. Nicely racy palate, with good acidity and a savoury stripe of tannin running through the earthy, but tight and powerful fruit. 91/100. $40

Alta Vista Single Vineyard Alizarine Malbec 2005
Las Compuertas, Lucan de Cuyo. On sand and boulders. Exactly the same viticulture and vinification regime. Much more vinous nose, though perhaps not quite so varietal, with nicely integrated cedary oak, and a racy mid-palate complexity. Really nice wine as it evolves in the mouth, with a glossy, pure fruit quality and very good balance and structure. Only 13.5% ABV, which gives the freshness. 90/100. $40

Alta Vista Single Vineyard Serenade Malbec 2004
Very nice, cedary, vegetal, quite truffly and dark nose, with the plushness of the fruit starting to push through, giving lots of black plum and rich blackberry. On the palate really good, svelte, quite decisive character, with positive, supple tannins edging slick, sweet black fruit, and a supporting kick of the smoky, cedary oak. 90/100.

Alta Vista Single Vineyard Temis Malbec 2004
Alto El Cepillo vineyard, in Uco Valley. Very, aromatic, with some exotic incense notes and a raciness to the fruit, with black olive suggestion to more plush, full plum and a little hint of Malbec violets. On the palate quite racy and silky, with a lovely mid-palate, with savoury tannin and oak background to svelte, concentrated fruit, backed up with lots of spice in a balanced, fresh finish. 91/100.

Alta Vista Single Vineyard Alizarine Malbec 2004
Much more chocolaty and plush, with mint and liquorice, and some high, fennel and rosemary notes. On the palate very powerful and concentrated, with quite a powerful oak and fruit axis filling and drying the mouth, as the tannins take a grip. Lovely concentration and muscularity, but lovely components for the future here. 92/100

Alta Vista Alto 2005
This wine is not made every year, but around 15,000 bottles produced. This vintage not yet released, as it is kept 18 months in bottle. Will be on sale March / April 2008. Malbec 85% with Cabernet Sauvignon 15%. Selection of parcels, identified by satellite photography. Big, bloody, very Bordeaux nose, with lots of richness and plush, smoky fruit. Plenty of plum and berries, with a cherry skin note but lovely chocolaty density. Really nice harmony, with massive plum and bright, juicy cherry richness and that suggestion of bloody ripeness and chocolaty density persisting. Smooth and silky, with very good length and balance. Terrific wine. 93/100 $60 Alta Vista Alto 2004
Same grape proportions. Quite a nutty, herbal character, with some toasty oak and earthiness. Malbec is more expressive, with a real richness and sweetness. On the palate the vanilla and big-boned, muscular structure dominates, perhaps slightly less elegant and less finesse than the 2005, but lovely power. Slightly liquoricy and spicy, and a larger-scaled wine, but impressive and still a baby. 91/100.

Alta Vista Alto 1998
Basically the same vineyards as today, with most fruit from Compuertas, and an 80/20 blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. A real treat to taste the first ever vintage of Alto, made by the original winemaker who was tragically killed in a boating accident. Very nice nose, that has developed coffee and some exotic Sandalwood notes, and lovely bloody fruit quality. Plate has a lovely older wine elegance, with smooth, harmonious tannins and a gentle acidity, and a raft of silky, lightly gamy character, with a touch of elegant brett, that presents a delicious, silky wine with lovely length and spicy, persistence. 93/100

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Norton

white wines

Norton Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Norton and Trappiche where the first to make Sauvignon Blanc in Argentina. This has a nice passionfruit and lightly tropical nose, in a medium style of Sauvignon with good fruit and a nice mouth-feel, and plenty of mouthfilling fruit, with a racy streak of lemon acidity. £4.99, Waitrose. 86/100

Norton Ofrenda Chardonnay 2006
In the Netherlands market only at present. Fermented and aged 10 months in French oak barriques. Very attractive nose that is mainly driven by the creamy, vanillin of the oak but with good apple and melon fruit coming through. The palate also betrays the slightly overpowering oak, but has good, clean fruit and a nice sense of mineral and lemon zest acidity. Very good value as it sells at 10 Euros. 86/100

Norton Torrontès 2007
In screwcap. Quite a restrained nose, with quite juicy exotic fruit notes and a certain waxy quality, without too much florality. A nice mouthfilling wine, with a cool but nicely fruity character, and good acidity keeping it fresh and crisp despite obviously powerful character. £4.99, Waitrose. 86/100

red wines

Norton Tannat 1944
Fantastic nose, with the old wine tobacco, undergrowth and Demerara sugar, with a suggestion of real sweetness. The fruit on the palate still has real sweetness and purity. It is aged, with refined tannins and a lovely suggestion of coffee and smoky tobacco in the finish. 90/100

Norton Malbec 1974
Sherry, a touch of gravy browning, some suggestion of sweet fruit, but too late for this one… 80/100

Norton Barbera 2007
Nice bright, cherry fruit, with plenty of racy fruit and acidity on the palate, and plenty of zip and fresh, paint-boxy aromatics and flavour. £4.99, Waitrose. 86/100

Norton Bonarda 2007
Nicely paint-boxy, dry, cherry and lightly vanillin nose, with plenty of juicy character. The palate has more weight than the Barbera, with similar cherry acidity and a little more tannin. Very good and stylish. Not in UK at present. 87/100

Norton Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Twelve months in oak, all French. A nice meaty, chocolaty nose, with a hint of mint to quite earthy black fruit. The palate has a fine juiciness to it, with lots of crisp-edged, very mouthfilling fruit with nicely supple tannins. £7.99, mostly Berkmann on-trade. 87/100

Norton Reserve Malbec 2005
Very fine nose, with a spice and cedary character, and a touch of coffee. There is very svelte black fruit here, with plenty of ripe, juicy appeal. Lovely palate of very plush, juicy black fruit, bursting berry quality and freshness, just leading into a peppery spice quality with good balance. A big line, with 450,000 litres made. £7.99, Sainsbury’s. 87/100

Norton Privada 2005
60% Malbec, 20% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in almost all new French oak, apart from 10% of the Malbec which is in American oak. Gorgeous nose, very Bordeaux-like with cedar and a touch of gaminess, but flooded with blackcurrant fruit and a touch of spice. Lovely weight on the palate, with copious black fruit, and a structure of toasty, charry oak in the background, and crisp-edged tannins and acidity giving poise and length. Very impressive. £11.99, mostly on-trade. 90/100

Norton Perdriel Single Vineyard 2004
60% Malbec, 28% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 14 months in all new French oak, apart from 10% of the Malbec which is in American oak Very big, minty, chocolate nose, flooded with glossy cassis and fragrant plum and cherry. The palate has a very smooth, juicy fruit quality, with a silky weight of plum and black berry fruit, and a rounded juiciness. The tannins are very spicy and lithe. There’s plenty of lithe, spicy, big and plush appeal. A few cases in the UK, at around £40. 92/100

Norton Gernot Langes 2003
70% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc. 8,500 bottles. Huge coffeeish nose, with a deep well of espresso. A touch of game, a plush, spicy and deep-chested. Absolutely beautiful plushness of texture and fruit, flooded with sweetness and ripeness of chocolate and dark berries, filling the mouth. The tannins are very supple and oaky, giving a ripe, sweet edge of spice and coffee to the finish, with a lovely freshening acidity. Very long and focused and a layered fleshy, very impressive wine. In USA at $110. 94/100

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Luigi Bosca

white wines

Luigi Bosca Riesling 2007
A little talcum powder and floral character, with powerful apple fruit. There is a very powerful, concentrated power on the palate, that is to me rather harsh and strident, and the acidity is slightly disjointed. There is a powerful white fruit intensity, but as an expression of Riesling it is rather too powerful for me. 85/100. £6.99

Luigi Bosca Gala 3 2006
50% Viognier, 40% oaked Chardonnay, 10% Riesling. Limpid, honeyed, creamy vanillin and fine apple fruit edging into tropical. Beautifully pitched limpid fruit on the palate, with lovely acidity and purity into a long finish. 89/100. £14.99

Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Chardonnay 2005
Lovely honeyed weight and nutty, almond, layered with sunny, ripe tropical fruits and a cut of lemon zest. Hugely sweet and powerful melange of fruit and toasty, spicy oak, but lots of style and concentration whilst never losing freshness. 91/100 £19.99

red wines

Luigi Bosca Pinot Noir 2006
From three different territories of Lujan and east Mendoza. Very expressive nose, with some nice briar and truffly character, and a plummy fruit character. The palate has a fruit sweetness, and a vanillin character, a bit overoaked. 86/100. £7.99

Luigi Bosca Reserva Syrah 2005
Maipu fruit. Big, rich, chocolate berry nose with plenty of charry plum and deep, creamy fruit a little hint of schist. Very nice7, thick, creamy fruit on the palate, but slightly furry and thick, and overly hot. 86/10. £7.35

Luigi Bosca Reserve Malbec 2005
Nice tangy fruit, with pure, rich, glossy richness and fullness. More bite about this, and more freshness. 87/100

Luigi Bosca Gala 1 2005
80% Malbec, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Tannat. 14 months in new French oak. Lovely meaty style of Malbec, with lots of earthy, plush berry fruit. On the palate the coffee and mint toast of the oak is powerful, but blends nicely with racy tannins and crisp cherry acidity and a nicely weighted depth of fruit. 91/100. £15.99

Luigi Bosca Gala 2 2005
80% Cabernet, 10% each of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. 90% French oak, and 10% American. Savoury and rich, this has plenty of meaty quality again, with massive black plum fruit. Juicy and rich, the tannins are ripe but grippy. 90/100. £15.99

Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Malbec Petit Verdot 2004
Field blend, of approximately 87%/13%. Dense plum and chocolate nose, with quite a tight, fine-grained appeal. Quite cool and classy fruit on the palate, with a firm back palate of liquorice and espresso with tight, grippy tannin and acid axis. 90/100. £24.00

Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Cabernet Sauvignon Bouchet 2004
Quite a lot of vivid, floral-edged character mixed with a certain savoury, herbaceous edge. Some black fruit silkiness comes through. The palate has a decisive acidity, and cool, grippy fruit with a touch of coffee and plumskin. 91/100. £24.00

Luigi Bosca Icono 2005
54% malbec, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon. Farmed at very low yield. Very deep-chested, muscular weight and cedary concentration. The palate has a huge, drying and mouth-coating slick of tannins at the moment. There’s a smoky and spicy finesse, with refined tannins and a fine, long, very concentrated palate. Potentially 94/100. £64.00

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Bodegas Séptima

Séptima Noche Pinot Noir 2006
The nose has a slightly jammy character at first, with blackcurrant fruit and a little herbal quality. The palate displays a jammy, very sweet quality of black cherry jam fruit. There’s a wrapping of sweet vanillin too, and some dry, grippy tannin and light acidity. Certainly a sweet, commercial style of Pinot, but easy and enjoyable in its way. 86/100

Séptima Dia Malbec 2005
Tight, quite expressive Malbec nose, with deep, glossy plum and cherry fruit. Plenty of dense, creamy fruit and buttery oak, in a very voluptuous picture. Expansive, generous black fruit, with low acidity and a silky tannic structure, where dense, sweet fruit powers through. 88/100

Séptima Reserva 2004
Nice cedar, black fruit and quite earthy, mineral nose. Very classical Bordeaux style, with touches of liquorice and a smoky background. Sweet, expansive, mouthfilling fruit, with plenty of spice and chocolate, and grippy plum skin fruit. Plenty of lively acidity and a nice sweet finish with sensuous, smoky depth. 89/100

Séptima Maria Codorniu Pinot Noir 2005
This traditional method sparkling wine has a beautifully strawberry scented, rose-hip and gentle herb aroma. The palate is soft and fruity too, with very nice, crisp cherry acidity. Finishes quite dry, with a racy, clean character offsetting the sweet-edged fruit. Very delicious, if simple wine. 87/100

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Finca Flichman

white and sparkling wines

Finca Flichman Chardonnay 2007
1,400,000 litres of this wine is made. Very bright, breezy, apple and fragrant pear scented wine, with a nice herbal edge. Intense sweetness on the palate, with a powerful concentration of fruit. A bit of RS here (6.3g/l) but an attractive commercial wine. 86/100

Finca Flichman Extra Brut
80% Chardonnay, 20% Merlot. Very crisp, fresh and fruity Charmat method, with a pleasant sherbetty freshness and a bit of red fruit quality. 85/100. £5.99

red and rosé wines

Finca Flichman Rosé 2007
50/50 blend of Syrah and Malbec. Syrah is a crush, Malbec is a saignee. Very pretty wine, with a nose of delicate raspberry and floral, lipsticky. Palate has an off-dry character, but a powerful, bright fruitiness. 85/100. Waitrose £4.99

Finca Flichman Malbec 2007
5.5 million litres made. A touch of sulphur, with good bright fruit, and a touch of baked plum. On the palate a fairly inky concentration, but the brightness and cherry tang comes through. Nicely balanced and plenty of punch at the price. 85/100. £4.99, on-trade only, but available in Canada, USA, Denmark, Holland and others.

Finca Flichman Shiraz 2007
A touch of chocolate, but mostly fairly bright, ripe fruit with a touch of florality. Nice smooth, dark fruited palate, with again a touch of inkiness, but has a savoury, dry presence and delivers a lot for the £4.99 price level. 86/100

Finca Flichman Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Quite a ripe, berry and plummy fruit quality. There’s a roughening tannic edge here that adds a bit of interest, giving a savoury grip to the dark, quite plummy fruit. A touch baked, but good quality again here. 85/100. £4.99

Finca Flichman Misterio Malbec 2007
Four months in oak (staves). Quite a nice smoky, chocolaty note, with a violet and bright cherry fruit. On the palate there is a nice smooth, ripe, concentrated but still fine, with a touch of chocolate and that cherry and red plum fruitiness. £4.99, Sainsbury’s, Co-op. 87/100

Finca Flichman Misterio Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Blackcurrant and a touch of eucalypt leafiness, with a tiny charry oak background. The fruit on the palate is quite dry and a touch inky, but the plum skin and black cherry bright fruit is good, and it is a wine with a bit of length. 86/100

Finca Flichman Reserva Malbec 2006
A mix of inner staves and older barrels. Fairly subdued, but a nice perfume with some schisty notes, a touch of violetty perfume and berry fruits. The palate has a lovely fruit quality, with refined black fruits, and a bright cherry quality to the acidity. Tannins are nice and supple, and the balance is very good. 87/100. £5.99, Waitrose.

Finca Flichman Reserva Shiraz 2006
Quite a big, plummy Shiraz nose, with a slick of vanilla and nice glossy fruit quality. The palate has a broad, juicy black fruitiness, with a fine, smoky oak background and dry, quite dry and inky tannins. The purity and sweetness of the fruit persists, and hints of spices and smoke in the finish are moreish. 87/100. £5.99, Waitrose.

Finca Flichman Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Raspberry and quite fragrant, floral-edged berry fruits. A little touch of vanillin. The palate has a lot of juicy fruit, though there is a tiny hint of a baked quality. Again, I find the tannins a touch dry and smoky, but this is a very nicely pitched Sauvignon with grip, and a juiciness. 87/100.

Finca Flichman Malbec Gestos 2007
Pronounced “Hestos”. This range is made from 50/50 fruit from Tupungato at 1,100 and Barrancas at 700 metres. Tank sample. Nice floral lift on this wine, with cherry and a touch of violet. Good palate, with a fine, silky quality and very nice, harmonious tannins and acids. A big step up in quality for me, the extra acidity of the higher vineyards showing through. £5.99, in Majestic. 88/100

Finca Flichman Shiraz Gestos 2006
Quite spicy and smoky with some tobacco and very nice fruit quality focused on black fruit. The palate has really intense fruit. There’s good concentration here, with a supple, violetty blackberry fruit and plum. Tannins have a roughening edge of plumskin roughness to the tannins, but a wine of excellent quality again. 87/100.

Finca Flichman Cabernet Sauvignon Gestos 2006
Open red fruit nose, with redcurrant and black berries, and a nice, refined cedary oak quality (this is made with a combination of inner staves and barrels). Really juicy chocolate and bright red fruit, with lovely freshness and racy tannin and acid axis. 88/100

Finca Flichman Expresiones Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
3,000 cases. Eight months in barrels, 60% American and 40% French. Cabernet from Tupungato. Very creamy, more dense, with a lovely Sandalwood and cedary finesse. Flooded with really ripe, full, creamy blackcurrant fruit, edged with that little exotic spice and floral hint. Ripe, creamy tannins and a really suave, polished wine. Great value. £6.99 – £7.99 equivalent, but only on-trade for this range. 90/100

Finca Flichman Expresiones Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Spices, cedar and exotic incense aromas meld with fine black fruits and a touch of schist and pepper. Quite complex, and very alluring. On the palate this has a delightful, concentrated blue/black fruit with vibrancy and punch, the tannins are dry but fine and racy, and the sued-like quality of the tannins pushes through with plenty of spice and warmth. Oak a little more raw and dominant, but very good. 89/100

Finca Flichman Paisaje de Barrancas 2005
4,000 cases. 80% Shiraz from very old vines (45 years), 10% each of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mint and eucalypt notes, with a chocolaty richness of black fruit. Very svelte and seductive. Nice touches of violet and almost rose-like florality. Big, ripe, rich, chocolaty palate. Nicely racy quality, with supple tannins and lovely floral edged character. On-trade only. 90/100

Finca Flichman Paisaje de Tupungato 2005
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec, 5% Merlot. 12 months in mostly French oak. Coffee and a nicely bloody streak to the very ripe blackcurrant fruit. Little glimpse of something schisty and mineral. Very good black fruit, with tight, silky, intense and spicy fruit and oak melange. 90/100

Finca Flichman Dedicado 2004
On-trade only, would be around £20 if retail. Made only in best years. 60% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon (both from Tupungato) and 10% old vines Shiraz. 12 months in all French oak. Big, primary aromatics, with a focused, powerful black fruit intensity edged with smoky spice. Lovely, compacted, muscular richness and concentration, with crisp, very fine tannins and a chocolaty depth. 92/100

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Pascual Toso

sparkling wines

Pascual Toso Brut
Toso has been producing sparkling wine for 85 years, and is second-biggest sparkling exporter in Argentina. Charmat method Chardonnay, in contact with lees for 5 months. Nice small bubbles and a bit of buttery, toasty quality which is nice to find. Apple and lemon fruit. Very nice on the palate, with a generous appeal and a touch of RS making this crisp but deliciously easy to drink. 87/100. £6.49

Pascual Toso Extra Brut Pinot Noir
A Champagne-method wine made from Pinot Noir. A little bit of herbal quality, with a nice sour lemon and bruised fruit quality. Good, tiny bubbles, with orange and peach, and a certain nuttiness. Very racy mouth, but this is really stylish and delivers a lot of fine, slightly toasty and herbal quality with lovely acidity. 89/100. £10.99

white wines

Pascual Toso Chardonnay 2007
40% Barrel fermented in American oak, 60% tank. Nice nose, with a touch of bourbon barrel and plenty of fine, quite fat lemony fruit. Palate is very nicely judged, with terrific zest backed up with a fine creaminess and hint of spice, and just a lovely mouthfeel and balance. 88/100. £6.49

Pascual Toso Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Picked early (end February) With nicely vegetal nose, lots of herbaceous nettle aromas. Good mouthfeel, with racy acidity and very good expressive varietal fruit. 86/100. £6.49

Pascual Toso Torrontes 2007
Very fine, with interesting herbal note suggesting fennel. The flavours are vibrant and punchy, with a crisp but powerful mid-palate punch of fruit, with lots of lemony concentration before a racy grapefruit acidity. Excellent example. 87/100. £6.49

red and rosé wines

Pascual Toso Malbec rosé 2007
20 hours cold maceration, followed by saignee method. Lovely floral and racy, charming cherry and strawberry fruit. Dry without being aggressive, with the racy but delicate fruit and acid balance very charming and sippable. 85/100. £6.49

Pascual Toso Merlot 2006
Same format for all of the reds in the varietal £6.49 range, with 40% aged in American oak. Quite creamy red berry fruits, with a touch of herbal quality. The palate has real fruit sweetness, with an unctuous core of plummy, jammy raspberry fruit, wrapped in a spicy, charry dark oak. 86/100

Pascual Toso Malbec 2006
Very fine Malbec nose, with definite violet and cherry highlights. The fruit is quite black and deep, with a velvety mouthfeel and a stripe of something earthy and herbal that adds a lot of interest. The tannins and acids are quite firm and racy, which keeps this fresh. 87/100. £6.49

Pascual Toso Syrah 2006
Bold, jammy raspberry fruit, with a thick, silky backing of richer blackcurrant, and the oak really quite delicate, adding just a touch of charry spice. The palate has good acidity, with a real vibrancy and tang, with lots of flesh and richness, and chocolaty tannins combining with some charry oak to support and add spicy depth. A very good wine. 88/100. £6.49

Pascual Toso Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Very good varietal character, with a touch of leafiness and black olive to blackcurrant fruit, and a smoky edge from the 40% American oak. Hinting at violet and Nice bit of structure on the palate, with the fruit still forward, glossy and bold, but tannins a little firmer and still good acid, keeping this quite crisp and juicy, though nice and easy to drink. 88/100.

Pascual Toso Reserve Malbec 2006
80% American, 20% French for one year, first and second-fill barrels. Extremely concentrated, pure, varietal nose, with intense kirsch and ripe, juicy black plum fruit, wrapped in a vanillin oak. Silky palate, with terrific mouthfeel, with very creamy black fruit, but just that little cherry and Parma violet fruit brightness, melding with chocolaty tannins, spice and good balance overall. 89/100. £8.99

Pascual Toso Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Quite an elegant black fruit nose, with a slightly suppressed exuberance, and a certain tannic grip and roughness on the palate. The slightly grainy quality of the tannins plus the charry oak is perhaps a touch astringent and spicy, but again a complex and powerful wine at a very reasonable price. 88/100. £8.99

Pascual Toso Alta Reserve Syrah 2006
14 months in American oak, form a yield of six hl/ha. Very big, minty, super ripe and creamy nose, with masses of minty chocolate and slick black fruit. On the palate there’s a slight spicy harshness that I think is a touch too much oak, but fantastic creamy fruit quality. £14. 90/100

Pascual Toso Finca Pedregal 2005
70% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Malbec in French oak, Cab in US. Name means “land of many stones”, from a very rocky vineyard site. Fairly subdued nose, with nice cedary character, and a touch of herbal nuance to silky black fruit. Delightful fruit on the palate, with a silkiness to the plum and blackberry fruit, with lots of plushness and ripeness, and plenty of creamy, plush oak but not dominating the richness of the fruit and structure of tannins and acidity. 92/100. £21.00

Pascual Toso Magdalena Toso
From the old Magdalena vineyard in front of the property, of 90-year-old vines. First Magdalena since 2002, and only 40 barrels made. 90% Malbec and 10% Cabernet from the ancient trellised vineyard. All new French oak for 18 months. Delightfully deep nose, flooded with coffee, tobacco and a deep pool of sinewy, silky black fruit. Just a hint of something herbal, and delightful spicy undercurrent. The palate has the same concentrated appeal of silky, blue-black fruit, like damsons and glossy black cherry, with the espresso and chocolaty appeal of the classy oak and ripe tannins adding a defining edge. Acidity is very good too, in a wine with excellent balance and a very beautiful structure and appeal. Extremely fine, and needs time. 94/100. £30.00


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Trivento

white and sparkling wines

Trivento Otra Vida Chardonnay 2007
15% barrel aged for two months in French oak. Quite a punchy, verdant nose, with lemony fruit and a touch of grassiness. Very nice, full, crunchy fruit on the palate, with plenty of verve and cut, lovely citrus acidity cutting though peach and nectarine fruit ripeness. Very good wine. 86/100. £4.99, Sainsbury’s.

Trivento Viognier 2007
From Tupungato, all stainless steel. Nice, crisp nose, with a touch of pleasant leafiness and fine pear and sherbetty aromatics. Delightfully crisp and racy, with verdant cut of the fruit plays against sweet peach fruit, but the cut and verve of the wine is very good. 87/100. £4.99, Waitrose.

Trivento Collecion Fincas Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Tupungato fruit. Very bold and crunchy passionfruit style, with some herbaceous character coming though. Quite powerful, with very nice burst of herbal-edged, zingy fruit on the palate, with masses of grapefruity zest and acidity, and hints of a sweeter tropical fruit adding some mid-palate ripeness and sweetness. 87/100. £8.99,

Trivento Golden Reserve Chardonnay 2006
6 tonnes per hectare. 100% French oak fermented and aged 10 moths, 70% new. Lots of creamy, lightly honeyed and almond quality oak, with a sense of mealy richness and pear and melon fruit. The palate has lovely life and acidity, with a very fresh appeal of lemony acidity cutting through the sweet, slightly tropical creamy fruit. Very nice persistence and length. 88/100. £8.99

Trivento Sparkling Brut Nature
Charmat method blend of 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot noir. Nice, small bubble and a nettly touch to the fruit on the nose, with a touch of autolytic character, though very punchy and fresh. Very nice fizz at £6.99. 86/100. Mostly On-trade.

red wines

Trivento Otra Vida Pinot Noir 2007
Tupungato. 15% French oak aged. Solid, dark crimson colour. Nice nose, with a touch of beetroot, but mostly a silky, quite plush dark fruit. Little bit of smoky oak. The palate has a rich, ripe, juicy cherry and slightly baked plum pie character, but a very good Pinot at the price with nice soft tannins and good acidity keeping the finish clean and spicy. Good value. 86/100. £4.99

Trivento Otra Vida Malbec 2007
Maipu fruit. Nicely floral and bright cherry fruit aromas a silky, paintbox fruit brightness. Good fruit on the palate too, that is bright and racy, with plenty of tang and vibrancy. 86/100. £4.99, Sainsbury’s

Trivento Collecion Fincas Malbec 2006
Maipu fruit. Creamier, more dense and plummy than the Otra Vida, with more baked character and slightly creamier oak. Aromatics suppressed. The palate has a broad stripe of tannins and tight acid profile, but the fruit stays pretty muscular and dense. A good wine, though slightly less charming than the Otra Vida at £4.99. 86/100. £8.99

Trivento Collection Fincas Syrah 2006
Slightly dulled nose, with some black fruit and a touch of earth or leather. The fruit on the palate comes good, with a nice juicy roundness of black berries, and the tannins and oaky spice adding some power and structure. 88/100. £8.99

Trivento Amado Sur Malbec 2006
Malbec 75%, 15% Syrah and 10% Bonarda. Syrah in American oak, others in French. Quite a schisty quality here, with a certain raciness to the fruit. The wine has plenty of oak, with a spicy character, and a touch of floral and bright, kirsch-like cherry fruit on the palate. Very nice wine, with the spice and cream coming through, and a lithe, supple quality to tannins and acid structure. Very good. 88/100. £7.99

Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2005
100% Lucan de Cuyo Malbec. From 100 – 120-year-old vineyards. 5-6 hl/ha yield. Hand-harvested and careful hand selection of grapes. Cold maceration two days at 8C. Lots of huge, minty, very eucalypt and menthol character. All new French oak gives a charry quality. Very sweet, creamy, black berry and plum fruit, with lots of glossy cherry and a real bite of tannin, but it is supple and fine, with a nice freshening acidity. Very good quality. 91/100. £9.99.

Trivento Eolo 2005
New Icon wine, but probably for on-trade only. The name means “God of the Winds”. 100% Malbec, a lower-yielding, specific selection from the same 100-120-year-old vines in Lucan de Cuyo, and with a slightly different barrel regime, with 70% new. Nicely smoky, cedary, much more European nose than the Golden Reserve. Behind a smoky, schisty character really solid blackberry and plum fruit, with sweet ripeness. On the palate there is a lovely juiciness to this wine, with a vibrant cherry-skin tang and lots of tobacco and coffee. Excellent, lithe, powerful, very silky tannins adding more chocolate and good length. 93/100. £37-£38 approximate retail in UK, if retailed. 2,500 bottles.

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Other Mendoza producers

Finca el Origen

Finca el Origen Malbec Reserva 2006
Nine months in barrel. Slightly smoky, fat, quite animal notes to nice cedary fruit but a touch overoaked perhaps. A certain creamy berry quality. Creamy and plush on the palate, with a nice bite of acidity and smooth, ripe tannin. A good wine, but perhaps a touch clumsy. £6 – £7.99. 85/100

Andeluna

Andeluna Torrontes 2006
Nice aromatics, with passionfruit and floral notes, and good fruit. Nice texture and not too oily. Good freshness and crunchy fruit. A good £5 wine if comes to the UK. 86/100

Andeluna Reserva Malbec 2005
Smoky bacon fat nose, with a sense of earthy minerality. A bit flabby perhaps, but has plenty of meaty and rich black fruit. Very nice wine if the price is £10 or so in the UK. 88/100

Andeluna Malbec 2004
New French oak only. Nice meaty and gamy nose, with a rich, thick berry fruit. Nice floral nuances and the kirsch brightness of Malbec. Good juicy fruit and nice persistence, with a chocolaty infill. Perhaps slightly hot. 89/100 $50 US

Andeluna Pasionada 2003
35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 20% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Franc. 12 months in new oak for separate components then re-blended for 6 months more. Lovely bright, focused, very fruity nose. Nice fat fruit, perhaps a touch over oaked, but has a liquoricy concentration. $50 US. 89/100

Mendoza Vineyards

Fairhills Chenin Torrontes 2007
Lovely, fresh, very appealing nose with juicy citrus and plenty of orange and floral notes. Very juicy and vibrant, with only 12.5 abv. Nice mouthfeel and juiciness. 86/100. £4.99, Tesco

Fairhills Shiraz Tempranillo 2007
70/30 blend, nice meaty, appealing plum fruit, with good, robust fruitiness and a very soft, baked plum character. 13% alcohol and nicely balanced, very delicious and warmingly spicy. 86/100.

Telteca

Telteca Andes Sur Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2006
Two harvests for SB, one early to minimise need to acidify. Nice bright nose, mostly with the lemon and light butteryness of the Sémillon, and a hint of tropical fruit. Nice juicy palate, with a rich orange and crisp lemon character. 12.5% no great zing, but pleasant. £4.99, Hallgarten. 85/100

Telteca Malbec Roble 2005
Bright berry fruit and a smokiness from 50% second fill barriques and staves. Some floral notes that seem rather rose-like and highly perfumed, in an almost artificial way. Rather astringent with a certain harshness, though a dry sense of minerality helps. £5.99, Hallgarten. 85/100

Belasco de Baquedano

Belasco de Baquedano AR Guentota Malbec 2005
Very nice nose, with real sense of minerality and plenty of bright floral and kirsch fruit to juicy berries. High quality French oak, with juicy, ripe blackcurrant fruit and a lots of finesse and racy freshness very nice wine this, with richness and flesh but a fresh appeal. Suggested price of £12.99 if in UK. 92/100

Belasco de Baquedano Swinto Malbec 2005
500 cases that will be £14.99 in UK. A slightly higher extraction and ripeness, which actually suppresses the aromatics and makes them slightly baked and dull. Blackberry fruit comes through nicely, and the palate has plenty of richness and plummy, vanillin gloss and weight, but prefer the AR for its finesse. 90/100

El Rosal

El Rosal Malbec 2005
Approximately £6.50 if in the UK. 3 or 4 months in a mix of new and old French oak. Very bright, kirsch like and up front, with raspberry and cherry fruit. The palate is very fruit-focused too, with plenty of chewy tannin and plum skin fruit but a nice sweetness and freshness. 87/100

El Rosal Malbec Reserve 2005
Would be £7.80 in UK. Vineyard selection of fruit, partial barrel ferment. One year in French oak. Good fruit and some freshness, but seems to have a slightly dirty bacterial note? 84/100

Joffre e Hijas

Joffre e Hijas Pasion 4 Bonarda 2006
60-year-old Bonarda. This has a nice freshness, with a cherry and berry fruitiness. Plenty of ripe berries and good acidity here. Nice earthy quality and great style and freshness for the money. 15% in third fill oak. £5.99. 87/100

Joffre e Hijas Pasion 4 Malbec 2006
Lovely, pure chocolate and cherry nose, with a touch of kirsch and blueberry aromatic, and a touch of cedar. The palate has a lovely life and smoothness, with great blackberry fruit is very composed and smooth, with warmth. A little star. £5.99. 87/100

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