E Wine of the Week

By Bruce Cochran

Argentina’s Great Reds

Hello Everyone,
I just returned from South America (Chile and Argentina). There’s little time to rest because spring is almost here and that means a full calendar of wine events. In the coming weeks I’ll be in five our six Arkansas towns where I do wine tastings, dinners and, of course there are the AELC wine classes in Little Rock. And, I’ll even squeeze in a little more travel time to Florida, Italy and Spain.

It’s been a year since we’ve discussed what’s happening in Argentina, and things have changed quite a bit.  As many new readers have joined our ranks since then, we’ll have an update—almost in real time—about one of the most exciting wine regions in the world. There are currently over 1,200 wineries in Argentina—a number almost equal to our E Wine subscriber list.

Thank you all for buying my wine!  You may remember that I got a distributor’s permit to bring in some of the wines that I’ve enjoyed on trips to Italy and South America (Just say Conde”, Rosa, Ferrari & Perini). Both have been far more popular than I imagined, so I’m adding another winery to the “Bruce Cochran Collection” (more on that later).

I hope to see you soon, somewhere,

I just rolled in from Argentina, and was I impressed with developments there. It had been a few years since I visited the wine country around the oasis city of Mendoza, and it’s really expanded. There are now over 1,200 wineries in Mendoza province alone.  Some, like Salentein and Andeluna, are big, and beautiful, and the equal of anything, anywhere else in the world.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been totally surprised. I’ve seen a lot more Argentine wine on the shelves in the U.S. in the past couple of years, plus their most important wine, malbec, is red and that’s what a lot of Americans are buying now.

You might already know about the hearty malbecs grown in the mountain desert around Mendoza. In the shadow of the Andes, the vineyards are watered through a 600 year-old series of canals. The water is snowmelt from glaciers atop these mountains, the highest peaks outside of the Himalayas (at nearly 23,000 feet Mt. Aconcagua is the third highest mountain in the world—I just went over the shoulder of it on a 10,000 foot mountain pass!)

This water begins clear and pure, becoming milky with minerals as it rolls down the mountainsides. That adds to the complexity of the wines. Plus, these vineyards are planted on their own roots, some of the few in the world that are ungrafted since the phylloxera epidemic of the late 1800’s.

The new frontier is high altitude pinot noir. Salentein Winery is a leader in this, near the second highest peak called Tupungato south of Mendoza. But they and everyone else there know that the global door-opener for them now is malbec.  They do it better than anyone else, and it’s become Argentina’s signature wine.

If you like deeply colored, full-bodied reds with a hearty, robust nature, I’d suggest a Malbec from Argentina. It’s great with their beef (widely acclaimed as some of the world’s best) and it’s good with our beef, too.  Of several that are available locally, I was impressed recently with one named Broquel, made by Trapiche. It retails for around $20, maybe a little more. Plus, it’s imported by Frederick Wildman, a company I’ve trusted for years.

For questions, comments, or to subscribe to the electronic version of E Wine of the Week,  email Bruce at: bruce@brucecochran.com

Categories: Legacy Archive