Back in 2003, Outkast presented us with one perennial question: ‘Whats cooler than being cool?’. The answer appeared, so simple, so inspired: Ice cold.
It’s 2017, and we have another riddle on our hands: ‘What comes after Malbec?’
The answer? Even better Malbecs.
So says Tim Atkin, renowned English wine critic, who will present his Argentina 2017 Report, which includes a list of the 100 best Argentine wines, in London on Monday.
The report will take us through current local wine trends, and the top ten in the list is clearly dominated by Argentina’s flagship variety.
Atkin is one of the most noteworthy and influential wine experts of our time; he received a Master of Wine qualification from the unparalleled Institute of Masters of Wine and writes for Imbibe and The World of Fine Wine among other publications. Invited by Wines of Argentina, he travelled throughout the countries wine-making regions at the start of this year, before compiling his top one hundred list.
So what are the current trends, oh Master of Wine?
Well you may not have needed an expert to tell you, but now it’s official: Everyone loves a good Malbec. But what is interesting, as Atkin notes, is that a lot of the best Malbecs show a real sense of place, which can be detected in the flavor itself. Beyond the inevitable differences between producers, Atkin is excited to note the impact that differences in soil, climate and altitude have on a wine’s flavor.
This geographical difference is important, says Atkin. Argentina’s wines are becoming ever more like varieties produced in Burgundy, France, and straying further away from what you would be able to taste in Bordeaux, or California’s Napa Valley for instance.
Aside from the Malbec (AKA what Argentina does best, according to Atkin) we’re seeing a reduction in the use of wood-ageing techniques, earlier harvesting, and a better understanding of balance. Atkin has also noticed an increase in the number of blends, as much in red as in white wines, better quality sparkling wines and the comeback of the Sémillon, a type of grape used in dry, sweet white wine varieties.
Atkins Top Ten (by point value)
98 points Teho Malbec Tomal Vineyard 2014
98 points Zuccardi Finca Piedra Infinita Malbec 2014
97 points Achával Ferrer Finca Altamira Malbec 2014
97 points Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Appellation Gualtallary Piedras 2016
97 points Catena Zapata White Bones Chardonnay 2014
97 points Colomé Altura Máxima Malbec 2014
97 points Mendel Finca Remota Malbec 2014
97 points Noemía Malbec 2015
97 points Trapiche Terroir Series Single Vineyard Malbec Finca Ambrosía 2013
97 points Zuccardi Aluvional Gualtallary Malbec 2014
The full list can be found here.
Monday’s event, at the Argentine embassy in London, will host journalists, sommeliers and wine importers, and a chance to taste the top hundred wines. Drink responsibly everyone…