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Wednesday 23 April 2014

DiamAndes to release high-end white

10th December, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

DiamAndes, one of four Argentine wine estates within Michel Rolland’s Clos de Los Siete project, is due to release a high-end white wine onto the market.

Jean Jacques Bonnie of DiamAndes

Speaking to the drinks business in Mendoza, Jean Jacques Bonnie, owner of DiamAndes, said: “The time has come to show that Argentina is serious about white wine.”

Bonnie would not reveal details of the blend, but confirmed that a high-end white was in the pipeline for release next year.

Bonnie spoke in praise of the strength of brand Malbec, but believes it is important for producers in Argentina to experiment with other varieties.

A Clos de los Siete white is in the pipeline

DiamAndes is one of four wineries that forms Clos de los Siete

“It’s a good thing that brand Malbec is so strong globally, and long may it continue, but it’s also key to experiment with different grape varieties in order to keep the connoisseurs interested,” he said, though warned against planting Merlot.

One such variety with a bright future in Argentina is Cabernet Franc, which Bonnie believes has “great potential” in the country.

“We’re due to plant a further 20 hectares at DiamAndes next year. Argentine Cabernet Franc offers something different to its French cousin. It’s more dense and powerful but keeps its elegance and freshness,” Bonnie offered.

As for white grapes, Bonnie revealed that he was surprised how well Viognier was doing in the Uco Valley. “We started out with the intention to blend it but it did so well that we decided to leave it as a solo act,” he told db.

Bonnie also revealed that Argentine rosé was taking off in the domestic market. “More people are making rosé in Argentina and more consumers are drinking it – it’s doing very well here,” he said.

As for the increasingly competitive UK market, Bonnie referred to it as “the New York” of the wine world.

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. It’s a huge wine hub and you have to be in the market, but there is so much competition you have to win over the buyers,” he admitted.

Comparing making wine in Argentina to France, where his family owns Château Malartic-Lagraviere in Pessac-Léognan, Bonnie said: “I like having the freedom to experiment in Argentina as opposed to France’s strict rules, but in order to maintain quality, we’ll need to be a stricter in our collaborative approach at some point.

“My ultimate dream is for people to be able to distinguish a DiamAndes wine from a Catena Zapata or an Achaval Ferrer. As we always only use our own grapes, our signature style will shine through eventually.

“But since our first vintage was 2006, we’re not entirely sure what that style will be yet,” he said.

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