Argentina – more than just Malbec

Argento Malbec/Tempranillo 2009, Mendoza (£6 Bibendum)
Juicy gluggable, food friendly wine, takes the blackberry and chocolate edge of the straight Malbec and adds in the red berry from the Tempranillo. Maybe not as fragrant as the pure Malbec, but still very pleasant. B(+)

Riglos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Mendoza (~£24)
Seems both less oaky and overripe than the Malbec (see here), with firmer tannins, but again it’s still aiming to impress rather than seduce. And that edge of dessicated blackcurrant skins speaks of fruit that was picked too late and worked too hard in the winery. B+

Riglos Gran Corte 2007, Mendoza (~£33)
Plush blackberry and blueberry from the Malbec plus some of the blackcurrant skin edge of Cabernet. Despite the ripeness and toasty oak, this is the best balanced of the 3 Riglos wines, but again I miss fragrance and freshness. S(-)

Renacer Enamore 2007, Mendoza (£22.99 Liberty Wine)
Has some of the sour cherry and almond hints of Italian Amarone, but it’s not as pungent and forceful. The violet and berry edge of Malbec comes through, along with hints of chocolate and blackcurrant, and the finish has both tannic grip and a touch of acidity – bring on the Parmiggiano! S+

As you’ll see from this and the video from yesterday, I really struggled to enjoy all the Riglos wines. You can tell someone has taken a lot of care over them, but like the Cobos wines, they just don’t press the right buttons for me. Two things spring to mind. Firstly, sitting next to Paul Hobbs, owner of Cobos and consultant at Riglos, at dinner in London some time last year. At one point he turned to me and said, ‘I don’t know what it is but these wines [Cobos] seem too big for this food. They work with the beef you get in Argentina, but maybe this meat’s not as rich in flavour, and it’s being overpowered.’ Secondly, talking earlier this year to Luis Barraud, Hobbs’s man on the ground in Argentina. I had to ask him to repeat it, just to check that I’d heard him correctly – yes, I had. ‘We are not looking for fresh fruit…’

I and many others do like some freshness in wine, which is why I preferred the trio from Renacer to the range from Riglos, why I prefer Audrey Tautou to Pamela Anderson, and why I prefer the Smiths to Metallica.

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