Undoubtedly, Argentina is synonymous with Malbec but Cabernet Sauvignon is drawing attention nonetheless. For example, at the last Argentina Wine Awards, 12 of the world’s best winemakers made reference to the quality of wines from this variety and mentioned how the country may captivate palates with a different Cabernet Sauvignon from ones made in Bordeaux and California.
In Argentina, about 50% of cultivated land is grown with Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, covering the latter 17% of the total area.
As regarding bottled wine exports, Cabernet Sauvignons experienced something similar to Argentina’s reality. Over 2011, exports amounted to 2 million cases and garnered USD 71 million at an average price of USD 34.85 per case. In comparison with 2010, the case average price grew by 12%, whereas the volume suffered a 10% drop.
The ripest grape
In Argentina, this grape, together with Bonarda, is the last one to be harvested, nearly fall time. Besides, to this was added the altitude of vineyards, the sun exposure and the wide temperature ranges, yielding mature wines, with red fruit aromas, vivacious tannins, and structure.
Daniel Pi, Trapiche’s winemaker, explained that Argentina can offer a different Cabernet Sauvignon style than the one produced in the rest of the world. Nevertheless, in the past years, Malbec overwhelmed this grape variety. “Little by little, it is attempted to promote this varietal as much as Malbec, but it is more complicated.”
Then, he highlighted that there can be plenty grape varieties, but Cabernet Sauvignon is the king, and all wineries have it included among their icon wines.
For his part, Jorge Riccittelli, Norton’s winemaker, differentiated Argentine Cabernets from other ones. “In general, wines from other places are more influenced by the sea, made from grapes early harvested and grown at a lower altitude, yielding less structured wines. On the contrary, Argentine Cabernets are the backbone of any blend; being well structured, displaying sweetness and elegance, and stressing ripe fruits.”
Gonzalo Bertelsen, General Manager and Winemaker at de Finca El Origen, is looking for his own style. According to what he said to WineSur, due to the excessive sun radiation, the winery’s vineyards have been protected with an anti-hail net, grass among the rows and leaves, so as to achieve a wine with a greater varietal character, avoiding overripe grape.