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17 February 2024

Argentina: Cabernets and blends.

The first of two features on red wines from Argentina centres on Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Cabernet Franc and combinations with other grapes. Some of these include the nation's darling variety Malbec as a lesser percentage of the blend; the next post will cover wines made from all or mostly Malbec and/or Syrah, where Malbec or Syrah take the lead role (with other grapes). So, if you're still with me, here are 10 sexy Argentinean Cabs worth lifting.

Bodegas Catena Zapata
All €18 to €25 in Ireland (importer - Cassidy Wines).
Appellation San Carlos Cabernet Franc 2019 (13.6% abv): 100% CF from San Carlos Vineyard (1090 metres altitude), 12 months in French oak barrels. Delicious aromatic crunchy fruit but nice and ripe with cranberry and cherry overtones, lovely maturing red. UK £16-£18. US $20-$25.
Appellation Agrelo Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (13.5% abv): 100% CS from Agrelo Vineyard Mendoza (950 m), same cask ageing. Tasty cassis and ripe blackcurrant fruit, firm palate but with attractive chalky tannins. £18-£19 UK. $22-$25 US/CA.
High Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (13.6% abv): 91% Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot from four vineyards at 950-1120 m, similar barrel ageing. Inkier colour than the Cab above with darker fruit profile, quite structured mouthfeel with fresh and tangy tones then finishing with ripe plum fruit too. £13-£15 UK. $17-$20 US. $27 CA.

Andeluna Cellars Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2020 (14.5% abv): 28 year-old vines at 1300 metres altitude in Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza. Aged in new French oak for 18 months and 12 months in bottle before release. Aromatic red fruits and spicy tomato notes, soft maturing mouthfeel yet still alive and fresh. Classy although pricey. €52 Celtic Whiskey Shop / Wines on the Green (Dublin). £35-£38 UK.
Bodegas Atamisque Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (14.5% abv): Also from Tupungato, similar altitude. 14 months in new French oak. Cherry and cassis fruit on a still quite closed up palate, concentrated and powerful but well balanced too. €29-€32 Ireland. £22 UK. $32 US.
Rutini Single Vineyard Gualtallary Cabernet Franc 2017: Uco Valley, 1235m above sea level; 14 months in different barrels. Maturing and elegant, enticing mix of ripe and spicy fruit with herby tones too, with fine lingering finish. Posh wine, posh price. €65 Ireland (importer - Criado Wines). £57-£60 UK.
Bodegas Luigi Bosca Cabernet Sauvignon 2019: 100% CS, aged 14 months in cask. Maturing meaty nose layered with cassis fruit, chunky structured palate with tasty ripe-fruit finish. €19 Ireland (importer - Barry & Fitzwilliam). £17 UK. $20 Canada/US.

Bodegas Salentein Numina Cabernet Franc 2020 (14.5% abv): Another very tasty 100% Cab Franc from the Valle de Uco (1100 metres) with spicy red pepper fruit, a touch of oak (14 months in barrel) while ripe and fresh still on its long finish. On the dear side again though. €28-€35 Ireland (Mackenway/Wines on the Green). €29-€33 Portugal, Spain, Netherlands. £26-£29 UK. $41 US.
Susana Balbo
US importer - Folio Wine, Napa.
Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2022 (14.5% abv): 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec from Gualtallary, Valle de Uco (1300m); 13 months in French oak (30% new, 70% second-use). Tangy and fresh with blackcurrant and darker fruits, firm and solid still needing further time in bottle, but it's very good for sure. £23-£27 UK. $22-$28 US/CA.
Signature Brioso 2021 (14.5% abv): 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Malbec, 18% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot from Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo (980m); 15 months in new French oak barrels. Concentrated and structured mouthfeel yet with lovely fruit nuanced by light oak texture; wow, serious 'premium' red. £31-£38 UK. $47 US.

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.