Quality Trumps Quantitiy in Argentina Wine Harvest

Patrick Archer agribusiness, foreign investment, lifestyle, wine & vineyards

“Better Late Than Never.” That’s how Wine Spectator describes the 2010 harvest in Argentina, a year marked by a slow sugar start, some potentially-damaging weather fluctuations and, ultimately, a lower level of wine production compared to 2009. But fear not, the finished product is still outstanding.

“Argentinean winemakers are pleased with lower alcohol levels and ripe tannins which they believe have produced an elegant vintage,” writes James Molesworth. That’s the general consensus from the various winemakers interviewed by WS including Bodegas O. Fournier, Achaval-Ferrer and Bodega Catena Zapata.

Yields were down anywhere from 10-25% for most of the vineyards in Mendoza, but the lower alcohol levels have produced some beautifully-balanced tempranillos and syrahs. Across the border in Chile, Molesworth says the 2010 growing season was hurt by the earthquake, although some “cool-climate varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir” fared well.

In other regional wine news, one Chilean producer hopes to boost sales by reaching out to a unlikely group of oenophiles: football fans. Concha y Toro, Chile’s largest exporter of branded wines, just inked a deal with the UK’s Manchester United and will begin advertising alongside Budweiser at home games in the legendary club’s Old Trafford stadium.

A Man U rep tried to explain the deal’s synergy, “This is a partnership that unites the two great passions in Latin America: football and wine.” Despite the enthusiasm and Concha’s creative attempt to reach more Asian buyers, we’re not anticipating a Malbec Lounge at the Monumental or Tuesday Tastings at the Bombonera anytime soon. (Wine Spectator 2010 Southern Hemisphere Harvest Report)

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