Thursday, May 22, 2008
Argentine Wines: Why Cabernet?
As Tom (via his wife's blog) reported, our group of expat beer drinkers got together at friends house to try something different: A wine tasting. Instead of arguing about the nuances of blonds, blacks and tans, we spent the evening learning about Banardas and Malbecs.
Daniel Karlin hosted the event at his apartment. He has started a new venture called Anuva Vinos. Anuva hosts small intimate wine tastings here in Buenos Aires and features unique, hand crafted wines form some of the best small, hard-to-find bodegas in Argentina. They also make the wines available to order in the United States and Europe from their store on their web site.
I love wine almost as much as I love beer. My family was lucky enough to spend a month in Mendoza touring vineyards and sampling many different wines. So spending the evening with my beer drinking buddies sipping wine was a no brainer.
Of the five wines featured, one was a Cabernet. Not surprisingly, it was the least favorite of the four reds we tasted. Why are Cabernets in Argentina consistently bad when compared to the Cabernets made just across the Andes in Chile?
When I was a poor college student in Austin, I learned early that a good bottle of wine could greatly increase my chances of getting lucky later that night. I would impress dates by ordering a Santa Rita Cabernet or Casillero del Diablo Cabernet from Chile. They were very good and more important at the time—very cheap.
I just don't think you're going to impress many women by pouring an Argentine Cabernet. Why is that when they Cabernets from Chile come from the same mountain range and the Malbecs from here are so good?
As Daniel pointed out, The pacific side of the Andes provides more rain and humidity allowing the Chilean Cabernets to flourish. The Argentine side is much drier and favors the Malbec.
If I were back in college now and trying to impress my dates, I would pour a good Argentine Malbec like the Ikella Malbec that Anuva features. The Argentina Malbec is the best grape being grown anywhere. And you can't beat its price.
Anyone out there know of an Argentina Cab that is good and can give the Chileans some real competition?