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Cabernet Franc the “future” for Argentina

Cabernet Franc has a greater future in Argentina than Cabernet Sauvignon according to one of the most respected winemakers in the country.

Catena Zapata's Alejandro Vigil
Catena Zapata’s Alejandro Vigil

Speaking to the drinks business in Mendoza, Alejandro Vigil, chief winemaker at Catena Zapata, said: “Cabernet Franc is the future for Argentina.

“The problem at the moment is that we only have 500 hectares of it planted across the country.

“I’m currently planting 20 hectares at Catena and will plant a further 80 hectares next year – that’s how strongly I believe in the grape.

“This is controversial, but I believe in the potential of Cabernet Franc in Argentina over Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly in high altitude spots in Altamira and Guatallary in Uco Valley in Mendoza,” he added.

Vigil produces two 100% Cabernet Francs for Catena Zapata – Saint Felicien from Lujan de Cuyo and Anglélica Zapata Cabernet Franc Alta from Altamira.

Sebastian Zuccardi, chief winemaker at Familia Zuccardi, echoes Vigil’s sentiments: “I’ve been planting Cabernet Franc recently and I believe it performs better in Argentina than Cabernet Sauvignon,” he told db.

“Our weather conditions are a bit too dry for Cabernet Sauvignon to flourish, though it can work well as part of a blend to give the wine tannic structure and backbone,” he conceded.

Zuccardi was voted Winemaker’s Winemaker of the Year at the Gaucho Argentine Winemaker Awards 2013, which took place in London in September.

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