Argentina's Cabernet Sauvignon Among The World's Top 4'
The award-winning Primus Cabernet Sauvignon by Bodegas Salentein (Photo: Bodegas Salentein)

For the second consecutive year, Bodegas Salentein's Primus Cabernet Sauvignon has won the highly coveted "Master" award at the prestigious Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2022 competition, organised by renowned British publication The Drinks Business Asia. In 2021, the bodega's 2016 vintage of Primus was recognised with this same award and this year the expert panel of judges, who blindly tasted all the wines, was exceptionally surprised at the 2017 vintage. The Asian-based contest saw its 10th edition being held in Hong Kong bringing together 100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon wines and blends that include at least 50 per cent of this grape, from Argentina, Australia, Chile, China and other wine territories. Primus Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 was the only Latin American winner to gain the highest prize in the 'Master' contest from amongst a total of four wines that achieved this honour — a clear demonstration that Argentina is not only a powerhouse when it comes to Malbec, but also has a tremendous potential to produce world-class Cabernet Sauvignon.

The combination of a high-quality judging panel along with a unique sampling process at The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters Competition provides a chance for wines to be discovered and become stars. This is possible whether they hail from a region famous for the grape or a lesser-known, emerging winemaking area of the world. The top wines are awarded gold, silver or bronze medals according to their result, and those adjudged to be truly outstanding in the respective categories receive the ultimate accolade: the title of Cabernet Sauvignon Master. The gap in quality between a 'Master' medal-winning wine and one that is awarded gold can be very narrow but in this year's competition four entrants distinguished themselves well enough to snatch the top prize. The four 'Master' winners selected showed the diversity of the wines on offer, with each boasting thrilling qualities that commanded the attention of the expert judging panel.

Of the four 'Masters' selected in the 2022 awards, three were made by an Australian family of wines with Argentina's Bodegas Salentein reigning supreme as South America's top Cabernet Sauvignon producer for the second year in a row with its Primus vintage label. Primus Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that is made with grapes from two historic plots that Myndert Pon, founder of Bodegas Salentein, planted in 2003 at their Finca El Oasis, located at 1,150 metres above sea level. The cool climate of the place and the particularity of those plots, where the sandy-loam soils have a high concentration of rocks covered with calcium carbonate, give this Cabernet Sauvignon a unique character that is beginning to be recognised worldwide. This award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon by Bodegas Salentein expresses itself by giving complex notes on the nose and in the mouth, with very good volume, freshness and a texture of firm tannins, but, at the same time, is silky and enveloping on the finish.

The wine is also described as having an intense ruby-red colour with blue reflections with aromas reminiscent of cassis, combined with liquorice and notes of black pepper. On the palate, it is intense with perceived notes of black fruit and pepper having a good body and structure, along with very good natural acidity. Counted among the major, globally planted red grape varieties, the Cabernet Sauvignon is the only one that has been immune to the fall and rise in consumer tastes this century remaining constant in its appeal. The Argentine cabernet's black fruit, deep colour, and firm structure can reliably deliver this experience at all price points making it a staple in every wine cabinet.

It is this versatility that makes the Cabernet Sauvignon an ideal base of various blends in a variety of styles, from the simple and fruity to sweet and chocolatey. On its own, winemakers are able to produce concentrated and powerful signatures that are elegant and cool-tasting, prone as it is to producing green-tasting pyrazines that can generate robust green bell pepper aromas and flavours. What is unmistakable, though, is whilst the Malbec continues to produce Argentina's greatest wines for the world, the Cabernet Sauvignon has massive potential as the mainstay of the country's top red wines.

French oak barrels in the Primus room (Photo: Bodegas Salentein)
The Primus room at Bodega Salentein produces limited-edition wines in a one-of-a-kind facility in Argentina. (Photo: Bodegas Salentein)
The Primus room at Bodegas Salentein is located 29 feet underground. (Photo: Bodegas Salentein)
The subterranean cellar at Bodegas Salentein (Photo: Bodegas Salentein)
The vineyards at Bodegas Salentein with the Andes Mountains in the background (Photo: Bodegas Salentein)
Bodegas Salentein in Uco Valley Mendoza (Photo: Bodegas Salentein)
Andre W Reid

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