DIVINE x Wines of Argentina
As the “tour” of Argentine wines continues, we switch our focus to red wine. More than half of the wines produced in Argentina, 58% to be exact, are red. This week, we are taking a closer look at “the king of reds”, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wines of Argentina: Cabernet Sauvignon
About the Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most popular red wines and one of the most widely grown varieties. It comes from Bordeaux, France and was the result of the accidental crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Believe it or not, it’s considered a fairly new variety, even though it has been around since the 17th century.
This red grape varietal is known for its thick, durable skin, and the vine’s resistance to the elements. Its hardiness is one of the reasons why it is grown in almost every single wine producing country around the world, including Argentina. The wine is deep red in colour with high to medium tannins. Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that are found inside grape skins, seeds and stems. You can tell if the wine is high or low in tannins by how dry the inside of your mouth feels as you drink it (also known as mouth feel). Cabernet Sauvignon produces a full-bodied wine with medium acidity.
About the Region: Cabernet Sauvignon is the third most planted grape in Argentina. 77% of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards are found in the high-altitude Mendoza region. Another 10% are found in the more desert-like conditions of San Juan in the northwestern region of Argentina. This is the nation’s third-leading wine region. San Juan is much hotter and drier than the Mendoza region and temperatures can exceed 42 Celsius in the summer. Even with these difficult conditions, the region produces some delicious wines.
Callia Alta Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Callia Alta Cabernet Sauvignon is a carbon neutral wine. This hails from Tulum Valley in San Juan. It has mild, round tannins with a gentle mouth feel. The aromas are fresh and fruity with complex spiced notes. It is an easy-to-drink wine that is a great introduction to reds.
Available at the LCBO – $9.00 for a limited time
- Cheese: Gruyère’s hint of fruitiness or a tangy Manchego go well with the complex spiced notes of this wine.
- Mains: Earthy grilled portobello mushrooms are a great vegetarian main. A filet mignon or a gamey meat work well too.
- Desserts: Unlike white wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon can hold its own with rich desserts. Enjoy Callia Alta Cabernet Sauvignon with a rich chocolate mousse topped with almonds or a chocolate tart with raspberry coulis.
Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Trapiche, from the Mendoza region, is Argentina’s number one export brand. It has the honour of being the recipient of the New World Winery of the Year in 2019 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. This is a fresh clean wine with aromas of plums, red berries and a hint of licorice. There is also a hint of blackberry, chocolate and a toasted touch on the palate.
Available at the LCBO – $11.45 for a limited time
- Cheese: A stronger tasting cheese like blue cheese or a sharp cheddar is the perfect pairing with this wine.
- Mains: Rich meat like roast beef or duck are ideal. You can even enjoy a barbeque chicken with Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Desserts: A chocolate blackberry tarte will play nicely off of the flavours in this wine.
La Mascota Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
This is another highly rated Argentine red having been awarded with 93 points (out of 100) by Tim Atkin, Master of Wine. La Mascota Cabernet Sauvignon, from Maipú, Mendoza, is a full-bodied, complex red with aromas of cassis, licorice and cherries with just a touch of spice. The wine was aged in French and American Oak for 12 months.
Available at the LCBO – $14.50 for a limited time
- Cheese: The complex red is ideal with a strong cheese like Stilton.
- Mains: Enjoy this full-bodied wine with grilled steak or a hearty beef stew. With steak, the rarer the meat, the bigger the tannins that it can take on.
- Desserts: Go rich with a dark chocolate cake filled with ganache. If you want something simpler, a dark chocolate truffle is a good choice.
This content is intended for adults 19+ years of age. Please enjoy alcohol responsibly and in moderation. For more information about how to moderate alcohol consumption, visit the Government of Ontario’s website.