10 Argentina
Published:  13 July, 2007

Market share by value: 1.3

per cent

Last year's rank: 10

Last year's market share: 1.5

per cent

Sales value: £58 million

Change o

n last year: -10

per cent

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

as

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.




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What makes wine special

Reaching the 50th instalment of Hemmingís Way is hardly the biggest milestone, but I donít need much of an excuse to pour myself a glass of champagne before getting dressed. Itís a better reason than I had for all 49 other instalments, anyway. Not that that stopped me.

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