As every year, Wines of Argentina and the Argentine Wine Association (COVIAR) organize the wine contest Argentina Wine Awards. In this 7th edition, the bet will be on the “new generation of consumers”. For this reason, the entity chose the 12 most influential international journalists, bloggers, sommeliers and winemakers in their markets. Likewise, the panel will also made up of six well-known nationwide winemakers.
This event will consist of five days of blind tasting at the Diplomatic hotel, in Mendoza. The tastings will be carried out on February 18 – 22. Besides, it will include the “Successful Wines and Styles” Seminar to be held the last day of the event (despiece).
This panel will count on the participation of Ursula Geiger, from Switzerland. She is freelance writer of VINUM and has contributed to the development of marketing concepts for Club les Domaines.
Besides, she has been part of different tasting panels in Switzerland and is member of Bund Deutscher Önologen and Union des Oenologues Suisses.
In an interview with WineSur, Ursula shared her opinion of Argentine wines and the trends leading the way this year.
What trends are new winemakers setting in the industry?
They are proud to make wine from the traditional varieties of their countries. They are working hard for high quality of the grapes and a sustainable viticulture. The young winemakers get along to produce elegant and gastronomic wines with a high potential of maturing and wines that are easy to drink. This latter characteristic is important for the next generation of wine drinkers.
There are a lot of trends and a lot of marketing ideas in the wine business today. The most important trend is high quality and production of genuine wines, which are distinguishable from the mass of globalized wines.
What is your opinion of Argentine Malbec from the winemaking point of view?
In my opinion, Malbec is a marvelous variety for the climate in Argentina and nearly a synonym with high quality red wine of this country. Its flavors of dark, ripe berries, spice and the hint of liquorice make it a charming wine for many occasions.
And, what about Torrontés?
I have to admit, my experiences in Torrontés aren’t as profound as with Malbec. And the amount of Torrontés, imported to Switzerland is very small. It’s necessary to position this variety as a typical Argentine specialty in the market. What I personally like about Torrontés wines is the freshness of its aromas and the vivacious acidity.
Apart from these grapes, what others from Argentina attract your attention?
Syrah! In autumn 2011 I had the pleasure to taste several Argentine Syrah wines. I was very pleased about the ripeness of the fruit, the juicy tannins and balance between body and acidity. The wines are really gastronomic and ideal to join food, especially asados, which are going to be very popular in Europe. Also, Bonarda in outstanding qualities could be a chance.
What are the strengths and weak points of Argentine wines?
Strengths: the quality of its wines, its outstanding Malbec, the gastronomic heritage, and the good quality-price relation for consumers in the Argentine export markets.
Weaknesses: the decline in prices, over concentrated wines with too much alcohol and a lack of elegance.
What do Swiss consumers think about Argentine wines?
Swiss consumers appreciate the good quality-price relation. Wine lovers like travelling and I know that Argentina is a very popular destination. For example, Dieter Meier, one of the most important Swiss musicians, grows his wines in Agrelo, Mendoza, which are highly recommended in Switzerland. So, Argentine wines put the wideness of the landscape, the sunny climate and the culture over to the consumers.
In your opinion, what are the successful wines in the foreign market?
High quality, whether bottled or bulk wines, is a necessity. As a consumer and winemaker, I look for wines that have a profile and a typical characteristic of the land.
Do you think that world leans towards wines with less alcohol and oak?
It is a difficult question. There are many types of consumers. But for younger consumers, less alcohol and less oak will be the trend. A wine connoisseur will look for three types of wine: the easy-to-drink-style for every day, the gastronomic style for a meal with a nice acidity, and the icon-style for bottle maturing.
Finally, what are your expectations as judge for the next Argentina Wine Awards?
I’m looking forward to an interesting tasting of the newest wine releases of Argentina. Of course, I’m very pleased to meet wine experts from Argentina and around the globe, to hear about their opinions.