Trapiche identifies US opportunity for high-end Argentine Cab

Argentina’s largest producer, Trapiche, is placing more emphasis on “high end Cab” due to a growing market opportunity in the US, according to the company’s marketing manager, Duncan Keen.

Trapiche is putting greater emphasis on Argentine Cabernet over US$50 for the US, having achieved great success with top-end Malbec in this market

Trapiche is putting greater emphasis on Argentine Cabernet over US$50 for the US, having achieved great success with top-end Malbec in this market

“As a group, we are putting a lot of focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, and we are becoming more confident with high-end Cab,” he told the drinks business in May, at Vinexpo Hong Kong.

“We have been focused on Malbec for the last 10 years, but the Cabernet has always been there,” he continued, noting that there is plenty of vine material that is 20 years-old or more (and few young plantings as the majority of new vineyards contain Malbec).

But, he said that the emphasis is shifting to Cabernet now Malbec’s success is assured.

“We’ve been focused on high quality Malbec and now we want to do to the same with Cab,” he said.

In terms of quality, Keen was clear that Argentina produces first rate Cabernet. “We have the climate to ripen Cabernet properly, and [international wine consultant] Paul Hobbs says that he sees the potential for Cabernet from Argentina, having commented that Bordeaux, Napa and Argentina are three great places for Cabernet – he is totally convinced of the potential of Argentine Cab.”

He also said that there was market potential for the grape from Argentina, picking out the US in particular.

“With current prices of Napa growing fast the gap is going to get wider and wider, so I see a possibility for high end Cab from Argentina, and that opportunity will get bigger as Napa Cab prices rise.”

Continuing he said, “Argentina is doing very well in the US and they are requesting more high end wines, it’s a unique moment to take advantage… while as much as 70% of sales are from Malbec, I do believe Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina at the higher end [over US$50] will be growing very fast.”

Cabernet is Argentina’s third most planted grape variety after Malbec and Bonarda.

Trapiche, as well as consultant Paul Hobbs, who is co-owner of Argentina’s Viña Cobos, are not the only ones who believe in the quality of Argentine Cabernet.

Indeed, Chile’s Aurelio Montes, who makes wine in Mendoza under the Kraiken brand, told the drinks business last year that Argentine Cabernet is “amazing” but “doesn’t have much reputation”, because, of course, the country “is labelled for Malbec”.

Furthermore, the results of db’s Cabernet Sauvignon Masters in 2015 highlighted the quality of Argentine Cab.

Following a blind tasting of more than 200 Cabernets from around the world sampled according to price band, many of the competition’s highest scoring wines turned out to be Argentine Cabernet.

Click here to see the results in full.

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