Over the course of three weeks, Thursday Food has unveiled the amazing wines from Argentina that have made the 2022 Hot List across all major categories including vinos blancos (white wines) and vinos rosados (pink/rosé wines). The year 2022 was a very productive one for Argentina's winemakers and the previous category lists, which were by no means exhausted, showcased a variety of labels producing exceptional wines that include grapes like the Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Semillón and of course, Malbec. With technology and innovation at the forefront, Argentine vintners continue to serve global markets with wines that are unique and varied expressions of the country's extraordinary terroir. From Mendoza to San Juan, as well as Salta, Patagonia and South America's newest, non-traditional wine GI, Buenos Aires, Argentina's bodegas showed that, regardless of location, their wines are among the world's best. An underlying commitment to the development of red varieties, other than Malbec, have also given rise to wines of an indisputable quality being produced from Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah grapes.
Generally speaking, a sparkling wine is achieved from a second fermentation, either in the bottle if using the traditional method (Champenoise) or in tanks, which is known as the Charmat method. Pet Nat, which will feature today in one of the wines listed, is known as the ancestral method. This style produces slightly sparkling natural wines that fall into the category of 'frizzantes': with a single fermentation that occurs in the bottle. Today Thursday Food presents five of the most exquisite sparklers making the 2022 Hot List that you must get acquainted with in 2023.
Baron B Héritage Edición 002 is the second edition of an assemblage, comprising exceptional vintages, which ensure the winery produces a different limited edition each year. That is, small batches of unrepeatable sparkling wines are made by the vintners at the Cepas del Plata estate of Bodega Baron B in Mendoza's Uco Valley. The sparkling wine pays tribute to the founder of Chandon Argentina, Baron Bertrand de Ladoucette, who arrived in the 1950s, bought vineyards and founded Chandon's first subsidiary, which is still today the largest and most profitable outside of France. Baron B Héritage Edición 001, launched in 2021 as the first edition, combines three vintages (2001, 2011 and 2015) from three different high-altitude estates. The 2022 vintage includes a 2014 Chardonnay assemblage from an estate more than 1,500 metres above sea level and a 2016 Pinot Noir from Gualtallary, at 1,600 metres above sea level.
The result is a logically complex sparkling wine, which has a steel colour as well as soft yellow tones with reflections. On the nose it has an elegant fruit complexity, accompanied by dried fruits such as walnuts and almonds, along with gingerbread, and a subtle peaty expression that provides a particular minerality. In the mouth it is elegant, having a natural tension between acidity and volume, as well as being creamy and deep, with a structure and concentration that defines the Baron B Heritage personality.
Nat Charmat de Vinyes Ocults, a 100 per cent Pinot Noir espumante, is made using a combination of the Charmat and Pet Nat methods by Bodega Vinyes Ocults (Hidden Vineyards) on the north bank of the Las Tunas River in Huarpes, east of Mendoza's Uco Valley. This sparkling wine is partly produced using the ancestral method, in which the bottles are replaced by the tanks used in the charmat method and thought to be the only such winery that applies this approach to winemaking in the country. Wines made using the Pet Nat method, in Argentine legislation, belong to the frizzantes category since they do not meet the INV requirements for the category of sparkling wines due to their fermentation style and duration. Additionally, the bubbles of these types of wines are much thicker on the palate resulting in aromas and flavours that are not so pure of the variety. It is an innovative, rich and versatile Brut Nature sparkling wine from a single fermentation, obtained from the natural sugars of the grape with an intense fruity and floral expression along with small and persistent bubbles.
Pascual Toso Brut Rosé is a sparkling wine, comprising 95 per cent Chardonnay and five per cent Malbec, produced using the Charmat method in the Barrancas area of Mendoza by Bodega Pascual Toso. Since 1890 when it was founded by Piemontese immigrant Pascual Toso, the winery, which lies high above the Maipu district of Mendoza, has always stayed faithful to its principles: tradition, authenticity and innovation. This commitment to producing the very best wines in the world has undoubtedly contributed to its longevity as one of the oldest wineries in Argentina. The Las Barrancas vineyard is characterised by 1,000 acres of stony soils that sit 2,500 feet above sea level making it a terroir-driven operation that produces wines of complexity and richness from vines as old as 60 years.
The wine is light in colour, looking like a cross between the skin of an onion skin and pink salmon. On the nose, fresh berries along with green apple, peach and compote are the aromas expressed. In the mouth, it has playful bubbles and good acidity with a light palate of cherry and stone-fruit flavours. It offers an enjoyable finish featuring textures that are creamy and complex.
Cruzat Cosecha Temprana is a 100 per cent Pinot Noir made by Bodega Cruzat using the traditional or Champenoise method with grapes from the Perdriel vineyards in the Luján de Cuyo region of Mendoza. The winery ventured with a traditional sparkling method in a segment that is increasingly in demand: that of low-alcohol wines. This was achieved by harvesting the grapes during the first days of February which allows the wine to naturally reach a lower alcohol content. In this case, a 100 per cent Pinot Noir espumante that delivers less than 10 per cent alcoholic volume in a delicate Extra Brut sparkling wine. Its colour is that of a pink onion skin, while its aroma stands out with subtle yet fresh fruity aromas, like red fruit, and delicate yeast notes. On the palate, it is a creamy, very elegant delicacy and has good balance.
H Schroeder Brut Rosé is made from low-alcohol base wine comprising 90 per cent Pinot Noir and 10 per cent Chardonnay by Bodega Familia Schroeder in Patagonia. This rosé, which forms part of a line of espumantes paying homage to founder Herman Heinz Teodor Schroeder, achieves elegance through the quality of its grapes which gives it a remarkable character. This is manifested in the delicate pink colour of the wine, its fine, persistent bubbles and the unmistakable aroma of red fruits. On the nose it also expresses delicate floral notes, and complex aromas of yeast are perceived. Its mouthfeel is unctuous and complex with good volume and an intense fruity freshness.