Only a year ago, I heralded the
opening of a
London-based Wines of Argentina office under ex-Oddbins buyer James Forbes and speculated
it might be the "fillip the country needs in the off-trade". It gives me no pleasure to say
that it doesn't appear to have made any difference
The generic body has tried its best, organising the
Wines of Argentina Awards in Mendoza, and promoting the match between Malbec and Argentinian beef, but UK wine drinkers (unlike
in the USA ) just don't seem
that interested. One possible reason for the loss of sales has been
Chile's strong performance in the entry point own-label category.
Dominique Vrigneau of Thierry's says: "The £2.99 and £3.99 price points are beginning to disappear for Argentina. This may be a good thing
consumers will see Argentina as a diverse source of wine styles rather than a place that produces cheap plonk."
The 25th anniversary of the Falklands War probably hasn't helped, but there is no reason why Argentin ian wines should not catch on. The reds are fruity and full-bodied, with Malbec the
star, while the whites have benefited from the establishment of high -altitude vineyards. Meanwhile, the quality of brands such as Argento, Norton, Las Moras, Trivento and Santa Julia is improving with every vintage.