(2020) The largest producer of organic wines in the Mendoza province with 305 hectares of its own vineyards certified organic, Bodegas Argento's new wine blends 70% Malbec with Cabernet Franc. 20% of the Malbec is aged in French and American oak, and 30% of the Cab Franc in French oak. The wine is also Fairtrade accredited. Saturated and dark in colour, there's a touch of coffee and gravy browning, solid and spicy black fruit, and with swirling a little hint of something floral and violet-like. In the mouth it is dense and rich, sweet curranty fruit bolstered by a roughening edge of tannin. Powerful stuff, that really has to be matched with robust foods. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) Continuing the Daily Drinker's capacity to surprise, a light red wine made from the Cereza grape variety, actually a white wine grape that develops a deep blush colour, much like Pinot Gris for example. So the skin contact here has made a wine that is definitely red - or arguably a very (very) deep rosé. There's a pretty floral and cherry character on the nose (fitting, as Cereza means 'cherry'), and in the mouth a bit of confectionary, cherry-lips sweetness before rather abrupt acidity kicks in. That gives freshness, but the palate doesn't quite live up to the charm of the nose. £10.60 to Daily Drinker Club members.
(2019) From Catena's most prized vineyard, and highest, at almost 5,000 feet elevation, this is aged 18 months in new French oak. It is a sumptuous and stunning wine, the nose flooded with sophisticated graphite and cedar, coffee and plum, a lovely whisper of cherry and violet in the subtle, complex but highly fragrant mix. In the mouth, there is a flood of fruit: yes, it is full, fat and generous, ripe black fruits filling the mouth, but the creamy, so, so fine tannins and the rounded cherry-skin acidity balance beautifully, while the coffee touch of the barrels and the honest, earthiness of the terroir gives a lovely grounding character. Superb, and surely in the running as one of Argentina's best expressions of Malbec.
(2018) A blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Tannat from a single, high-altitude vineyard in the Agrelo sub-region of Mendoza, this is a serious red blend that spent 18 months in French oak barrels. Interestingly however, it also uses augmented reality to tell the story of the vineyard, a beautifully done and entertaining adjunct to the stuff in the bottle: download the app, point your phone at the label, and the label 'comes to life' to tell the story in words and pictures. As for the wine, its a lovely Bordeaux-style blend, graphite and peppery spice layering ripe blackcurrant fruit on the nose, the medium-bodied palate creamy and juicy, chewy but slick tannins and an agile cherry-pit acidity giving length to the wine's volume. At time of review there are limited retailers of the 2015 vintage, and Corking Wines are listing the 2016.
(2018) Argentinian Malbec is where the Beefsteak Club started, and this magnum bottle comes from the Uco Valley of Mendoza, feremented in small conctrete tanks with lees ageing. Dark and solid in colour, there is good depth aromatically, quite meaty and dense, a touch of beef stock appropriately enough, a glimmer of brighter black fruits and a whisper of Malbec's floral quality. In the mouth it is fairly chewy and a touch rustic, but there is a fine gravelly umami dryness to this, and the riper black fruit does reassert in the finish to leave a pleasing impression, some spicines too. Price is for the 1.5-litre magnum.
(2018) Selected grapes from the Uco Valley in Mendoza are hand-picked from high altitude vineyards for this bottling, which is aged in French oak for 18 months. Though aromatically not a million miles from the standard Malbec in the range, there is an extra ounce or two of concetration evident, a touch of spice and chocolate from the oak and with swirling a lovely violet lift to the aroma. In the mouth the wine is a much more seductive proposition, the creamy sweetness of the ripe black fruit melting into the vanilla and spice of the oak, more refined tannins for sure, and a nicely balanced finish where some pert black cherry acidity pushes through.
(2018) In my tasting notes database you'll find every vintage tasted from 2002 to 2007, often multiple times, but for some reason this wine dropped off my radar a little. Since Michel Rolland set up Clos de los Siete in 1998 the Seite (seven) founding partners and wine labels have become Cuatro apparently, but this wine is still very much in the same style, which is big, bold and luxuriously oaked and fruited. However I do find the sometimes slightly aggressive extraction and oak has subsided slightly, and while this has all the opulence, power and depth of flavour as always, it is firm rather than phenolic, and is most enjoyable.
(2018) This is a Malbec-based blend, also with 30% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, from three carefully chosen blocks in the high quality Altamira sub-region of the Uco Valley, at 1,100 metres. Sandy soils have good drainage through gravel, and there is limestone too. The blended wine is aged for around 16 months in French oak barrels, 20% of which are new. There's a huge sense of plushness and depth aromatically, a pool of blue-black plum and blueberry, the delicate touch of Parma violet adding perfume. In the mouth it is silky and dense, medium- to full-bodied, and a great wash of chocolate-touched, fleshy plum fruit fills the mid-palate. Some grippy, quite chewy tannin grabs the finish, a sense of graphite and cedar earthiness and minerality, the balance from its good acid structure extending the finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) From the clay soils of Lucán de Cujo, at 1,050 metres in the Andes foothills, this is 100% Malbec. The colour is dark, but not opaque, a glimpse of light leading on to a vibrant, zingy aromatic, fresh with blueberry and cherry, lifted notes sage and violet too, which are all very pure and appealing. In the mouth there's a mineral character to this, stony and graphite-like, the savoury fruit is there too, in a pert and agile wine that benefits from its directness. Herby, tangy and fresh in the finish.
(2017) Moët et Chandon created their Argentine operation in 1959, so have a 60-year record of making sparkling wines here in Mendoza, this a traditional method blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It's a delicious and elegant wine, reminding me of some Franciacorta 'Saten' wines, dominated by creamy, fuller-bodied Chardonnay fruit and with a silkiness to the mousse and texture. Add a soft but persistent acidity and it's a classy Champagne lookalike at a very decent price on Majestic's promotional offer of £13.49 when you buy six (at time of review).