"Funded by a Dutch investor with projects in tourism and farming, overseen by Carlos Pulenta, former head of Trapiche, and advised by enologist Michel Rolland, Salentein has quickly risen to the top level of Argentine wine since its introduction in 1999. Check out the malbec for
proof: This is no forced blockbuster, but an elegant red. At first it's just winningly soft, with plumy flavor; then tannin infuses the wine with a licorice-like spice, keeping it bright, fresh and long. Though it will doubtlessly get better with time, I'd have a hard time not drinking it now." -Wines & Spirits
Twelve months of French oak ageing softened the tannins of this classic varietal, and enhanced its delicate flavours.
The aroma and flavour of ripe plums are predominant in this wine. Its violet-red color will intensify over time.
Bodegas Salentein Winery
These Estate wines come from the vineyards at La Pampa Estate, El Portillo Estate and San Pablo Estate, in the Upper Valley of the Uco, part of the Tupungato district, 120km south of Mendoza, nestling beneath the Andes. The vineyards are planted at between 1050 and 1500 metres above sea level in ideal micro climates, which produce perfect ripening conditions for the grapes.
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Now fifth in the world for wine production, Argentina is catching up in the quality wine sector. A long time wine producer, Argentina used to make wine in order to drink it, not export it. And so the wines produced were quaffable and rustic and made for the local's everyday dinner. Yet it's hard not to get caught up in the wine market of the world and some winemakers decided it was time for Argentina to show their stuff. Better winemaking technology was brought in, new winemaking techniques were learned and good viticulture practices flourished. The result? World-class wines with unique style and variety.
Unlike its Chilean neighbor, Argentina's vineyards are spread out around the country. The best known region is Mendoza, almost parallel to Santiago to the west. Mendoza contains the sub-regions of Maipu (pronounced MY-pu) and San Rafael. Grape-wise, the most important white is Chardonnay, making wine similar to California's style on the variety. Another fun white grape to try is Torrontes. Almost only grown in Argentina, Torrontes makes wines that are crisp, aromatic and easy-drinking. Some of the best versions of this wine come from the northern region of Salta, with very high altitude vineyards. As for the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is the main grape for many wines leaving the country, but Malbec, the grape Argentinians like to call their own, makes very distinctive wines that are structured, dense and velvety. Many more varieties happily grow in the country, but for export, and consistent quality, these are the primary grapes.
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
Chile & Argentina are the regions producing the most wine coming out of the continent. The wines from this area are good value with a distinctive taste. They create new world wines with old world character.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.