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Wines of South America

The most important thing in a wine, as is the most important thing in most things; people, suspension bidges, or presidents - is integrity.

        When we taste a wine we want it to answer questions. You profess to be Riesling, do you taste like a Riesling? You say Grand Cru on your label. Do you live up to those standards? You say you are a Prime Minister, do you display the necessary ability to carry your country through a crisis. Integrity, honesty, truth. They all matter.

            South American wine does this better than most. The basic imported and then bottled in the UK stuff is fine. Juicy, fruity Merlots and Cabs that do their very best not to offend and can on occasion be just the ticket. There is a middle ground too. Really sound wines often from large producers with with genuine interest and quality. Then, of course, the ubiquitous (mostly Argentinian) Malbec. On the one hand Malbecs are as Malbecs do but then there are the ones that make you want to sell your children just so you can afford some more. These are usually best from Argentina and from high altittude (Malbecs, not children) There is also, a new wave of fairly funky stuff. Small, artisanal producers, sourcing wild grapes from wild spots.  

             However, after trying to define and pigeon-hole the wines of the region I will say this. Trying to define or pigeon-hole the wines of South America is lazy and probably insulting. Imagine the French accepting themselves simply as part of the wines of 'Europe', or for that matter the Burgundians accepting themselves as part of the wines of France and then Leflaive simply labelling their wines as Burgundy and Puligny-Montrachet forgetting the Crus altogether. These things matter, the truth of origin, of process, of geography, it all matters.  The strange thing about honesty and integrity is that it should be easy, so why aren't wines and people be better at it? These ones are.


Kaiken Malbec Classico 2018, Argentina £10.95

Bucket loads of fruit here. Crushed strawberries, pulsating, alive and vibrant. The kiss of an oak barrel. Succulent and and Juicy. Fresh and great value.


Bodegas Garzon Estate Viognier 2018 Uruguay £17.95

This stands up to proudly and honestly exclaim itself as oh-so-very Viognier. It has the floral aromas then succulent, ripe, white peachy plalate that defines the grape. Freshness here, which is important to avoid a too fat or cloying wine.  


Bouchon Pais Salvaje,2019 Chile £18.95

The first time I tried this wine I was in a tree house, which makes perfect sense. It is totally wild and leafy with crisp acidity, fresh, zingy fruit and freedom. Like being licked on the face by Mother Nature.



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