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Bodegas Salentein, Argentina

text and photographs © 2008 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Argentina.

white wines

Salentein Callia Alta Pinot Grigio 2007
Very fresh, appealing apple fruit with crisp lemon notes and a n9ce texture and mouthfeel. Good lime acidity, very clean with good fruit sweetness. £4.99. 86/100

Salentein Calia Magna Viognier 2006
Big leesy nose, with honeysuckle richness. Broad, plush mouthfeel, with more of the apricot and peach fruit, but very good acidity. £6.99. 87/100

Finca el Portillo Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Very fresh, young, with a slightly tanky pear-drop note, but then good varietal character with gooseberry and passionfruit and a touch of asparagus. Nice bright, sweet fruit, verging on the tropical, with fine texture and plenty of lemon pith acidity. Nice wine. £5.99. 86/100

Salentein Winemaker's Selection 2007
50/50 Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay blend, barrel fermented but not aged. Quite nutty and herbal, with almond and some green fig, with a touch of green bean. Palate is quite full, with chardonnay character coming through strongly and a nice, powerful intensity. £7.49. 87/100

Salentein Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006
100% barrel ferment Sauvignon Blanc in older barrels. A juicy, luscious quality comes through, with vegetal and green fig notes, and a melon character. Palate is quite firm and structured, with tannin adding grip and plenty of lemon pith acidity giving a savoury, chewy character. 88/100

Finca el Portillo Chardonnay 2007
Very clean apple and pear fruit, a touch of nuttiness. More exotic mango and papaya notes come through, but the palate is juicy and savoury with plenty of juicy, mouth-watering fruit and racy acidity. 88//100

red wines

Callia Alta Shiraz 2006
Nice bright raspberry fruit with a touch of pepper. Refined, plush mouthfeel, but with some elegance and a nice edge of tannin and pepper and good acidity. A very similar wine is sold as Tesco Finest Shiraz at £5.49. 87/100

Callia Magna Shiraz 2006
There's a touch more earthiness and smokiness on the nose, with meatier notes, the palate has a slightly awkward character, and although the fruit is juicy and fresh, there's a slightly high acidity perhaps. 86/100

Grand Callia 2005
40% Shiraz, 20% Malbec, 20% Merlot and 20% Tannat. 18 months in half and half French and American oak. Lots of oak here, lots of spice. A slightly dusty note. There's a powerful backbone of acidity and very tight tannin that gives this a stripe of liquorice. £13.99 . 90/100

Salentein Primus Pinot Noir 2005
Open ferment in the large wooden casks of whole berries (de-stemmed). 100% San Pablo fruit. Seductive, earth and truffle Pinot, with rich berry fruit and plenty of spice. Not in market yet, but would sell at circa. £16. 89/100

Salentein Primus Pinot Noir 2004
Plenty of fruit sweetness, with an earthy, toasty oak overlay, but really quite delicate fruit. There's a touch of astringency, and a nice weight and finesse here. Available from Caves de Pyrènes. 88/100

Finca el Portillo Malbec 2007
Nice violet and cherry nose, with plenty of charm and vibrancy, with that lovely floral note persisting and plenty of raciness. But the fruit is really good, flooding across the tongue with just a little touch of coffee in the finish. 89 Gold Medal in Decanter awards. 90/100

Salentein Winemaker's Selection MCM 2006
40% Malbec, 30% Merlot, 30% Cabernet. Slightly green note, with nine months in older barrels, adding a cedary note too. Palate has freshness, with a bite of cherry and blackcurrant fruit that is quite crisp, though doesn't have the finesse of a wine like the El Portillo Malbec perhaps. Nice tangy finish, with spices and a bit of cut from tannins and acidity. 87/100

Salentein Reserve Malbec 2006
14% in a mix of new and used French oak. Some really solid black fruit, with that black cherry and kirsch quality, and little floral notes, but very solidly fruity and concentrated. Really clean, with plenty of vibrant, slick black fruit and that real tanginess of acidity with tight, controlled tannins. Was due to arrive in UK in Spring 2008, selling for £9.99. 88/100

Salentein Numina 2004
70% Malbec, 30% Merlot, mainly new barrels. Sumptuous, big, sweet nose, with a thick blackberry fruit. Very creamy and rich, with masses of sweet, plump fruit, but again that liquorice and edge of cerise cherry skin acidity. Lovely length in a bigger, more obvious style perhaps. Ultra premium (but below Primus), selling for around £13.99. 89/100

Salentein Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Lovely hint of the vegetal on the nose, with some overripe character, and very expressive blackcurrant fruit. A touch of black olive, but really nice on the nose. Very fine palate, with good balance, with acidity and tight tannins checking savoury black fruit. Very nice. £9.99 Waitrose. 89/100

Salentein Primus Merlot 2003
This has a slightly soapy character, with firm Morello cherry fruit and a liquorice, and a fine, svelte black fruit palate. Lovely length and concentration here in the end. Around £16.99. 89/100

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