My late year resolution is to be more reactive to what’s going on in the wine world (and less reactionary towards everything else). If the main topic of debate is ‘whither the natural cork’ then I’m going to chip in with my tuppence worth. This also means that my recommendations will occasionally coincide with wines that are on offer.
Last night I opened a bottle of Weinert Carrascal 2007 when my old friend , Tom, came over for supper. He’s fond of wines that are a little bit stinky, wines with a bit of character but that don’t cost the earth. Argentina is not normally a happy hunting ground for such things. In my, admittedly rather limited experience, Argentine wines tend to be very ripe and sleek, very influenced by top French oenologist Michel Rolland, but not terribly exciting. It’s a shame because I used to drink a lot of Argentine wines in the early 00s. To my untutored palate they had a character that their Chilean cousins lacked. Now the two countries seem to have swapped places with the Chileans making some distinctive wines whilst the Argentines make soupy monsters in the international style.
At Cavas de Weinert they do things differently. All wines are aged in enormous old oak barrels and only released when ready to drink. They’re more like an old-school rioja bodega than a sleek new world winery. The wines are also absurdly cheap. I paid £7.50 for the Carrascal 07 – a blend of Cabernet, Malbec and Merlot – from the Wine Society, Majestic currently have the 06 on offer for £6.49 when you buy two. The one we had last night smelled damp and woody, a little like an old cellar. It tasted leathery but with masses of very ripe fruit. There quite a bit of tannic grip but age has mellowed it. It reminded me simultaneously of a nice claret and a traditional Chianti Riserva from a good producer only with much more fruit. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but it’s a lot of wine for the money. Tom is now calling it the Funky Mendoza which makes it sound like a dance craze from the 60s.
Please feel free to write in to contradict me on Argentine wines.