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Dominio del Plata

text and photographs © 2008 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Argentina.

Wines are available from Sussex Wine Company, Hedley-Wright, The Wine Society and others. See all stockists on

white wines

Susana Balbo Crios Chardonnay 2007
Lovely nose, pitched at melon and creamy apple fruit, with three months in French oak barrels adding a touch of honey and toast. Palate has refined fruit, with a racy lemon and orange acidity. 87/100

Susana Balbo Crios Torrontes 2007
Beautifully sherbetty and refined floral nose, with a streak of something racy and green fruited. The palate has vibrancy and crispness, with some fat and silky texture, but the raciness of the acids and the crunch of the fruit pushes through. 87/100

rosé and red wines

Susana Balbo Crios Malbec Rosé 2007
Sherbetty and bright, with delicate raspberry and floral aromas. Lovely ripe strawberry fruit, with sweet, rich fruit and very fine acidity. Commercial and delicious. Uses a special yeast that converts more of sugar to glycerine rather than alcohol. Still 14%, but could have been nearer 16%. 86/100

Susana Balbo Anubis Malbec 2006
Smooth, smoky, quite silky black fruit. Nice fresh palate, with a slightly baked, but very pleasant black fruit palate and a silky tannin and acid structure with some spice and power. Good value. 85/100. £4.99, Tesco

Susana Balbo Crios Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
5% each of Malbec and Merlot. Nine months in oak, half French, half American. Quite a deep-chested, ripe black fruit nose with a touch of mint chocolate. The palate has freshness again, and though a touch of raisin, the sweet black fruit is very nicely melded with supple tannins and acidity. 87/100

Susana Balbo Crios Malbec 2007
With 13% Bonarda, Nine months in oak, half French, half American. Quite cedary, with a good malbec expression of violetty black fruit. A nice sweet mid-palate, though it is perhaps a touch short and dry in the mid-palate, though Susana Balbo explains this is down to being bottled only two weeks ago and will flesh out. 86/100

Susana Balbo Crios Syrah-Bonarda 2006
A 50/50 blend. Nine months in oak, half French, half American. A very nice, svelte, blue/black quality with some plum and chocolate and a background of peppery spice. Good freshness, with a certain mid-palate plushness. Very nice tannin and oak structure, adding a toasty warmth, with nice acidity. 88/100

Susana Balbo BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
With 10% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc. 11 months in half new French oak, half second fill American. Slightly stalky character on the nose, with a certain leafiness but good blackcurrant fruit. The palate is smooth and light, with the spice and the toast of the oak rather drying and almost overpowering the fruit though this has length and some elegance too. 88/100 £8.99

Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
With 10% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14 months in 80% French oak, plus second fill American. A touch of Brett on this wine, that rather spoils the aromatics. The fruit on the palate is ripe and concentrated, with plenty of juiciness and very silky tannins. Nice freshness, and overall a good wine this though the Brett may bother some. 88/100. £12.99, in M&S

Susana Balbo BenMarco Malbec 2006
With 10% Bonarda. 11 months in half new French oak, half second fill American. Big, deep, charry toast quite plush this wine, with spice and nuttiness, and good red fruit. The palate has good fruit, with a juicy plumpness and plenty of sweet black berries and plum. The plushness and ripeness of tannins is lovely, with a tangy cherry acidity and good length. 89/100

Susana Balbo Malbec 2006
With 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13 months in 80% French oak, plus second fill American. More cedary and deep-set fruit than the charryness of the BenMarco 06, with solid black fruit underpinned by some chocolate and plum. The palate is deeply plummy and rich. Excellent mouthfeel and richness, with lovely structure. 91/100

Susana Balbo BenMarco Expressive 2005
55% Malbec, 15% Bonarda and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14 months in 70% French oak, plus second fill American. Very fine nose, with very refined fruit. plenty of cedar and spice. Good, rounded, fleshy palate with ripe tannins and fleshy, rounded fruit. Good acid structure and peppery, spicy tannins. 90/100 $45

Susana Balbo Brioso 2005
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% each of Petit Verdot and Merlot that spent 16 months in all new French oak. . Very classy, young Bordeaux nose. Gentle cedar and elegant black fruit. Lovely mouthfeel too, with the richness and spice of the very nicely handled oak currently quite prominent over sweet, ripe, essence of blackcurrant fruit, with that plum skin bitterness coming through adding layers. $45. 91/100

Susana Balbo Nosotros 2005
90% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon spending 18 months in new French oak, but put into new barrels, so 200% new oak. A strict grape selection from Lujan de Cuyo and Tunuyan. Old vines on their own rootstock. Very deep, muscular, deep-chested black fruit depth with a really quite refined cedar and spice oak. The palate is flooded with thick, creamy black fruit and copious coffee and chocolate depth. Very impressive of its style. 92/100. 15.4% alcohol. £50 for the few cases that will come to UK.

Susana Balbo Virtuoso 2005
Late-harvest Malbec, sweetened with a little must, and spending 18 months in new French oak. Deep, creamy, pure black fruit. Lots of stewed prune and plum. Lovely fruit sweetness and a chocolaty ripe depth. Nice stuff with good acidity. 88/100.

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