Argentina shows white potential
23rd February, 2012 by Rupert Millar
The quality of Argentina’s white wine has risen dramatically in recent years, thinks Laurie Webster, CEO of Las Bodegas.
Speaking to the drinks business he said: “Argentina has turned a corner with white wines. Three or four years ago I wouldn’t have thought about importing Argentine Sauvignon because I didn’t think the wines were able to compete with the likes of Chile and New Zealand.
“But there’s been a big uplift in quality and we’re seeing both personality and regionality in the wines.”
Out of 30 wines that Webster has added to his range for this year, 11 are white and include Sauvignon Blanc, Fiano, Chardonnay, Torrontés and Viognier.
Webster said he wasn’t “flying the flag for other varieties” coming out of Argentina but rather, “I think what we have here is representative of what’s going on in the country. It’s a statement of what’s happening.”
On the subject of Argentina’s pricing, Webster stated that it was more important that Argentina kept its value up and he said he would “sacrifice volume for style and quality” quite happily.
“I’ve given up trying to source cheap wines from Argentina because either they don’t exist or they’re terrible,” he continued.
“My model is New Zealand. With the exception of a little wobble a couple of years ago they’ve managed their ‘brand’ admirably.
Argentina has the second highest price per bottle in the UK (after New Zealand) and it’s the reason Argentina is not really on supermarket shelves let’s be honest. And I don’t think it ever will be.”
For more on Argentina’s white wines, see the February issue of db.