April 13 brought a collection of nineteen Argentinian wineries to the Chicago Cultural Center for an afternoon tasting. It’s only been about a decade since Argentina became a significant player in the North American market. The two grapes that have really launched this country onto the wine scene are the white grape Torrontes and the black grape Malbec, a transplant from Cohors in France.
Most of their wine regions border the country’s western border, the main exceptions are the landlocked Cordoba and Entre Rios, on the east coast, just north of Buenos Aires.
One frustration of tastings like this is that if you find a wine you really like, it’s often difficult, if not impossible to purchase more of it, at least at this time. Over half of the wineries represented were still looking for either an importer, a distributor, or both.
Hopefully some of my favorites will find their way into Chicago restaurants and wine stores during the next year. Especially keep an eye out for the Sietefincas Malbec (spicy blackberry on this one), the Torrontes from Vasija Secreta (I loves me a combo mango/pineapple sandwich) and the Syrahs (pulpy chewy tannins that evolved even during a couple of sips) from Bodegas Laguarda.
Laura Ciacera from Bodegas Laguarda participated in a short video interview; the link below will lead you to my YouTube channel.
And tour organizer Nora Favelukes from New York based QW Wine Experts braved my camcorder to give you a solid overview of the Argentinian wine landscape.