Untapped Fine Wines - Promoting Argentina, Chile and Uruguay - Part 1
I recently had the pleasure of joining the Untapped Fine Wines portfolio tasting, hosted appropriately at Bar Lourinha, CBD Melbourne. Untapped Fine Wines is an importation and distribution business run by owner David Gilmour and his team. They offer a selection of 400 wines from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Spain with a focus on family-run, artisanal wineries whose passion and love for viticulture and winemaking is revealed in the quality of their wines. I was privileged to meet several winemakers and business owners who had travelled from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay and have provided a brief overview of the wineries with a selection of wines I rated from the tasting.
I will start with Argentina and over the next week or so follow up with Chile and Uruguay.
Part 1 - Argentina
A key feature of this wine country and various regions (working north to south they re Salta, La Rioja, San Juan, Mendoza and Rio Negro), is its absolute natural purity. Virtually every type of landscape can be found lending to a collection of specific eco-systems all highly suitable for viticultural practices. Due to a dry climate, disease issues normally challenging vines are not found in Argentina. Soil fertility is regulated by the use of irrigation from the Andean snow and glaciers.
High ripeness in the grapes comes from abundant sunshine, and there is a good diurnal difference. Vineyards are located in unpopulated areas and the soils are fresh and not overworked. Collectively these attributes of Argentina result in wines with intense colours, vibrant bouquets and fresh fruit driven flavours. It is worth noting that in the north (Salta) some of the highest commercially producing vineyards in the world are located (up to 3,000 metres).
Torrontes and Malbec absolutely shine in these climatic conditions, and in recent years the area planted to high quality grape varieties has increased significantly including Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Syrah and Merlot for the reds and Chardonnay for the whites. Malbec is supreme however being the most widely planted high quality variety of either colour.
Winery: Mi Terruño
Location: San Roque, Mendoza, Argentina
Contact: Gabriel Baigorria - Proprietor
The Winery is located in the picturesque San Roque district, Maipú county in Mendoza province. Mi Terruño is a family company whose members have been connected to the wine business since 1978. Their aim is to produce excellent quality wines and express their pride of being in Mendoza, renowned for its top quality wines that are globally revered and recipient of various awards. The owner Gabriel was very engaging and took me through his range of wines, detailed below.
- Mi Terruno Uvas Torrontes 2012 (Santa Rosa) $ 20 rrp - Floral aromas of jasmine & elderflower made up this aromatic wine that is true to its variety. A great little example of this grape.
- Mi Terruno Reserva Chardonnay 2010 (Valle de Uco) $ 32 rrp Stone fruits and melon on the nose with a creamy and nutty texture on the palate. The high acid & mineral (1000m altitude vineyard) contributed to the long and focussed finish.
- Mi Terruno Expresion Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Maipu & Valle de Uco) $ 28 rrp - Fruit driven wine with dark berries and a lovely sweet and savoury fruit profile on the palate. The finish was long and the wine well balanced.
- Mi Terruno Reserva Bonarda 2010 (Santa Rose) $ 32 rrp - Vibrant nose with strawberries and red plums and cherries. The palate is fresh and an expression of flavours detected on the nose. There is a subtle tannic build to the wine on the back palate which adds to the complexity.
- Mi Terruno Uvas Malbec 2013 (Maipu) $ 20 rrp - What can I say, a great value Malbec that is juicy with a dark fruit profile, mid palate tannic drive that is integrated and matched by fruit weight. With a long finish this wine over delivers.
- Mi Terruno Reserva Malbec 2011 (Lujan de Cuyo) $ 32 rrp - This wine is vibrant and juicy with fruit concentration, tannic grip and a dry leafy profile as the wine moves to the back palate. It’s in balance and it is delicious.
- Mi Terruno Limited Reserva Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon (Lujan de Cuyo & Valle de Uco) $ 44 rrp - This wine is 55% Malbec and balance Cabernet and is an excellent blend. I spent more time enjoying than writing about this one, but my few comments included poise, balance and length with time on its side.
- Mi Terruno Mayacaba Malbec 2008 (Lujan de Cuyo) $ 86 rrp - Made from very old vines, this Malbec displays a dark fruit profile with concentrated berries, a dusty undertone and seductive tannins. The flavour is savoury all the way with a few ‘sweet fruit’ highlights that add to the wines complexity and enjoyment.