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New range advances Argentine terroir focus

Argentina is ready to direct greater focus towards its sub-regional differences, believes the winemaking director of Luigi Bosca as the producer releases its own terroir-driven range in the UK.

The Mendoza producer is introducing a trio of wines into the UK through agent Bancroft Wines: Grand Pinot Noir “La Consulta” 2013, Malbec “Los Miradores” 2012 and Riesling “Las Compuertas” 2014.

Together they represent what Luigi Bosca vice-president and winemaking director Alberto Arizu maintains is an important part of the country’s evolution.

“In my opinion the next step for Argentina is not just to show varieties,” he observed. “Malbec has been very important for our business but we can show more than just a grape.”

Introducing the new range, which carries an RRP of £17.50, Arizu summed it up as “our new collection of wines specifically related to terroir.” He suggested that these would be of particular interest to “some specific mature markets” including the UK, where “people really appreciate the connection with terroir.”

In Arizu’s view, “Consumers want to connect with an emotional part of the wine – the winemaker and nature.”

Although Argentina is beginning to attract attention for Pinot Noir from its southern Patagonia region, Arizu insisted that pockets of Mendoza, especially the Uco Valley, were well suited to this variety.

“We found in La Consulta a wonderful place to plant Pinot Noir,” he reported. “For me it is one of the best places for very very expressive Pinot Noir.” What’s more, noted Arizu, highlighting the poor quality soil and 1,170m altitude of this corner of the San Carlos sub-region of Uco Valley, “it’s very different to Patagonia.”

This view was backed up by Phil Crozier, wine director for the Gaucho restaurant group, which has branches across the UK as well as Dubai and a new venture about to open in Hong Kong.

For Crozier, “Patagonia is much more Burgundian whereas these wines have a much more New World style.”

He also confirmed the enthusiasm for Argentine Pinot Noir as the second most popular red wine choice after Malbec among Gaucho diners. “Especially if the weather’s nice people will have something light and fresh,” confirmed Crozier. “Malbec is much more of a cold weather wine.”

One issue Arizu highlighted for Argentine Pinot Noir is that, although this variety has a longstanding presence in the country, “it is mostly clones for sparkling wine, which are absolutely different to clones for red wine.” He confirmed that the 55-year old La Consulta vineyard was planted with the popular Burgundian 777 clone.

Luigi Bosca currently produces around 20,000 bottles per year of La Consulta Pinot Noir, 18,000 bottles of Los Miradores Malbec and “less than 10,000” bottles of its Las Compuertas Riesling.

While these last two wines in the range are still being shipped to the UK, Arizu noted that the Riesling vineyard lies 1,050m up in Luján de Cuyo in the southern part of Mendoza.

The new Malbec comes from Villa Seca in the Uco Valley sub-region of Tunuyán. Although the family only bought the land 15 years ago, Arizu explained: “we planted old Massale selection vines and one gave us incredible character.”

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