Argentina is the most important wine producing country in Latin America. Since the 1990s, it has been one of the most dynamic regions and in 2004 it was the 5th largest producer in the world.
Well over 40% of its wines are deep inky reds but a surprising 30% plus is made from pink-skinned grapes and over 20% is white. The remainder is made of indigenous and non-vinifera ‘others’.
It’s generally accepted that vines made their way to Argentina from Spain, Peru and Chile and were established initially by the Jesuit Missionaries, but in 1900 by a second wave of immigrants from several European countries with great wine histories and experience (Spain, Italy and France).
When these immigrants emerged on the Argentine wine scene, they urged their new compatriots to ditch many of their old methods, but kept the Argentine renowned expertise in dams and irrigation methods.
Argentine vineyards are some of the highest in the world – most start at about 600m and can go as high as 1,600m. Almost all of them are on the country’s western strip bordering the Andes mountains and extend from the Tropic of Capricorn in the north to the south’s 40th parallel.
The seasons are well defined so the vines get to rest. However, there are some temperature extremes from 0c or below in the winter to well over 40c in summertime. Irrigation is always necessary and luckily there is lots of Andes Mountain water available.
The dry and very hot hurricane force winds from the northwest called ‘Zonda’ can affect the vines’ flowering and they are very susceptible to hail as well. The Mendoza area often uses hail nets to protect the vines and grapes.
This wine is from Lujan de Cujo – part of the Mendoza region and north of Mendoza city. In 1993 it became Argentina’s first controlled appellation. Reds (Malbec, Tempranillo, Italian varieties and Cabernet Sauvignon) do well as do the Criolla Grande and Cereza pink-skinned grapes. Whites (Chardonnay) are also grown here, but are better from the equally well-regarded Uco Valley (south of and part of Mendoza).
The Trivento is clear and bright with legs and that distinctive deep inky purple colour that Malbec often has. On the nose, it’s clean and developing with medium plus intensity, aromas of blackberry, cassis, Damson plum, tobacco, spices and pepper.
The palate is dry with medium plus acidity, medium plus ripe tannins with grip, medium plus body, high alcohol and medium plus intensity. Flavours include blackberry, cassis, Damson plum, black currant, boysenberry juice, baking spices and black pepper. The finish is medium plus.
This is WSET ‘Very Good’ wine – the acidity and alcohol are well-balanced and the fruit is beautifully concentrated. Drink now or hold for 4-6 years to allow the tannin to soften. The medium plus acidity will accommodate that. The complexity and finish are medium which hold it back from a higher qualification.