Argentina has "more to offer than just Malbec"

Argentina is ready to show UK wine drinkers that it has much more to offer than just Malbec, according to the UK representative for the country’s wines.

Andrew Maidment, the UK and European head of Wines of Argentina, told OLN: “I think a lot of people have a clichéd image of Argentina, which is good, but if you go there you are not struck by that at first, you are struck by the modern-ness of the place, by the art, the food and the culture. We want to show people that Argentinean food doesn’t have to be just steak and chips and it’s the same thing for wines. Argentina has wines that work well in a premium environment. We want to inspire the wine trade.”

A host of Argentinean wine producers showed their wines to the trade this week at the annual Wines of Argentina tasting ‘Barullo’, which took place in London. Maidment explained that this is the first year the tasting has included a wide selection of white and rose wines, as well as a raft of wines from new and innovative winemakers under the heading of ‘rule breakers’.

“Only 10% of what Argentina exports is white wine at the moment but there are some great Semillon wines and Chardonnay. It’s about challenging expectations and telling people it’s not just about Malbec and big heavy wines and I really want to bring to life some other stuff.

“Argentina has grown by 100% in the UK in the last three years. Malbec especially is growing and that is wonderful because as a trade body we have focused on taking ownership of that grape, but now it’s time to introduce some other things. The whole movement in Argentina is to a better, fresher and more drinkable style and these are the wines the winemakers really want to make. There is a big shift away from that heavy style; the winemakers are exploring new regions now.”

Winemakers also exhibited their Malbec blends at the Barullo event, which they hoped would appeal to Malbec lovers while also helping to promote grapes that consumer may be less familiar with, such as Cabernet Franc and Bonarda.

“Bonarda is the second most planted grape in Argentina but no-one has really heard of it but I think we will see a lot more from this and Cabernet Franc, which is better recognised but has lower volumes. We can’t compete with Chile in terms of price points and we don’t want to, but if Chile starts becoming known for its Malbecs too then we really need to do other things.”

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