The Argentine economy has been turbulent for years. We visited in Autumn 2016 and prices for hotels, food and wine were slightly more expensive than the UK. Not any more. The Peso is (at the time of writing in June 2020) worth a fifth of what it was three years ago. Great news if you want to travel there to eat steak and drink Malbec – as it will be relatively cheap (maybe £20 for a previously expensive steak dinner for two with wine in an upscale restaurant). It is a catastrophe for Argentinians who wish to buy foreign-produced cars, clothing, computers… The Coronavirus is currently promising to decimate the continent of South America and I fear it will be years before we are able to visit this beautiful country safely again.
We visited Mendoza in 2016 and spent 5 days tasting Malbec, Torrontes, Chardonnay and some brilliant blended wines. Located in the foothills of the Andes, in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua, vineyards are planted at some of the highest altitudes in the world, with the average sites located 600-1,100 meters above sea level. The principal wine-producing areas fall into two main departments – Maipu and Luján de Cuyo. The region also produces good Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, sparkling wines, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Torrontes. The Mendoza Province is one of Argentina’s most important wine regions, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the country’s entire wine production.
Sales of Malbec are at an all time high in the UK – and deservedly so; it’s good wine and most of the available offerings are well priced (in the UK at least). The UK market leader is Trivento – owned by the mammoth Vina Concha Y Toro company from neighbouring Chile. Founded 23 years ago, Trivento Bodegas y Vinedos produces brand-name wines under their own label. Trivento has become the most diversely distributed Argentine wine brand in the world.
Tasting Notes: An intense red. Aromas of cherry and raspberries and notes of vanilla and coconut due to 6 months aged in French oak barrels. Well balanced; sweet tannins and a velvety mouth feel. At £8 this is good wine – but I usually wait until it is discounted to £6 a bottle (which it currently is) and buy several bottles
Region of Origin – Mendoza
Wine Colour – Red
Price – £6 reduced from £8
Where do I get it from? Tesco (very widely available)
Current Vintage – 2018
Producer – Trivento (Concha y Toro)
Grape – 100% Malbec
Country – Argentina
Verdict – Good wine for the price
Food Pairing: We had this with barbecued steak. It was a brilliant match – the wine seemed to come alive with flame grilled steak.