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Uco Valley tasting

text and photographs © 2008 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Argentina.

Finca Sophenia

Available from Ellis of Richmond and Majestic for Alta Sur line. Michel Rolland is consultant.

Finca Synthesis Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Beautifully defined Sauvignon Blanc nose, with real verve and zest, some herbaceous notes, and a burgeoning tropical fruit. Lovely life and verve about this. The palate has a very similar quality, shot through with lime, and with those lychee and mango tropical fruit notes pushing through. Very long and shimmering with life and acidity. The best Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc so far? 91/100 £17-£18.

Finca Sophenia Synthesis The Blend 2005
20 months in French oak, but quite a lot of minerality, with a deep, sinewy cherry nose, and plenty of white pepper and cool climate freshness. The body has a linear, very nicely lean style, with a minerality and a real edge of bittersweetness to the fruit. The tannins are very fine-grained and peppery, and the acidity is extremely fresh. Good length too, in a very classical style. 91/100 £30

Finca Sophenia Synthesis Malbec 2006
There is plenty of minerality here, with again the cleaner, crisper aspect of the fruit accentuated by subtle, supporting French oak giving a touch of Sandalwood perhaps. The palate has a purity too, with plum and cherry, and a touch of something spicy and exotic. Very nice balance here and delineation. 91/100. £17-£18

Benvenuto de la Serna

Available from The Sussex Wine Company

Mil Piedras Viognier 2007
Very fresh, varietal, lovely twist of lime to fresh, limpid with nice acidity and plenty of forward fruit. 86/100

Benvenuto de la Serna Blend 2005
Malbec 60%, Merlot 40%. Very nice nose, with some dusty cedar and very ripe berry fruit. Lots of richness and flesh. On the palate there is plenty of oak, that's perhaps a touch drying. Very nice wine. Around £10. 88/100

Don Cristobal 1492

Jackson Nugent is UK agent.

Don Cristobal 1492 Verdelho 2007
Very nice varietal nose, with masses of crunch and sweetness, a touch of mint leaf. Fleshy bit very crisp on the palate, with excellent acidity. Clean, crisp and very good commercial wine. 10,000 cases. £5.99 also in Direct Wines. 87/100

Don Cristobal 1492 Triana 2005
Not yet released, but will retail for around £12 or so. Malbec 50%, syrah 30%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20%. 15 months in all new French oak. Deep, smoky and spicy black cherry and kirsch nose. Very rich, sumptuous fruit, with chocolate and toast, and a broad and deep palate. There's a slightly soupy quality but very nice fruit and weight. 87/100

Bodega & Viñedos San Polo

The founder of the winery, Juan Giol, came from Italy and was the first to plant vineyards in what has become the modern wine industry of Argentina. As a winery, it has operated since 1990 bottling its own wines. UK Agent is C&O Wines.

San Polo Auka Chardonnay 2007
Auka where the native Argentineans who invented the irrigation channels for the Andes water. Quite clean orchard fruits, with a touch of spangles. Fresh and juicy, though perhaps slightly cloying. 85/100. £5.99

San Polo Auka Malbec 2005
Plenty of red fruit crunch and a rustic style of grippy tannin and acidity. Quite a nice wine for the money, with a bit of oomph. 86/100

San Polo Auka Merlot 2006
Quite a lot of cedary, spicy American oak, with rich berry fruits. Slightly angular, with plenty of savoury fruit and that pleasant rusticity. 85/100

San Polo Auka Syrah 2004
Nice pastille quality to the fruit, with a bold blackberry and cherry crunch. Svelte and smooth, with a bit more juiciness and good acidity here. Nicely rustic. 87/100

Masi

The Italian company Masi makes a couple of wines in Argentina, though all are shipped to Italy for bottling, except Paso Doble. They have 90ha of vineyards, and an Italian oenologist visits every three months. This wine is relatively easy to find, including Tesco, AG Wines and Noel Young.

Masi Paso Doble 2006
Malbec 60%, Corvina 35% and 5% only the Corvina is appasimento. 2000 was first vintage, after Masi had experimented in 5 countries. Bright, focused cherry. fruit with a leathery undertone. There is a raisiny quality and a nice kirsch and floral lift. Plenty of life and brightness in the mouth, with bright cherry acidity and a refined brightness. 88/100

Finca Don Carlos

With Pampas Wines in UK

Finca Don Carlos Calathus Chardonnay 2007
Slightly vegetal and herbaceous. Steel fermented and oak-aged. Quite a vivid crunchy apple fruit. Perhaps a touch of sulphur, but has lively fruit and acidity. Costs $15 in the US. 86/100

Finca Don Carlos Calathus Pinot Noir 2005
Subtle spice, some floral notes, not much depth though a minty chocolate notes appears. Lacks a little charm and fruit sweetness perhaps, with a charry mocha note and plenty of spice. Costs $17 in the US. 86/100

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