Monday, December 20, 2010

Argentinan Wine Continues To Gain Popularity

Did you remember the Nielson family? I remember back in the 80s the whole notoriety about the Nielsons and how the marketers tracked their spending and purchasing habits. It was this kind of bizarre tracking of them to get a better understanding of all of us. Little did I know that years later when I’m working in the wine industry, that the Nielson data would remain the best way to track wine purchases in the U.S.

As of last month, the Nielson report shows that this year has been a big – big year for Argentinian wines. As you probably do remember, I’ve written about the growth of the Mendoza region multiple times in the past few years.

I guess that all my soothsaying has come true. This year has seen explosive growth for those Nielson people drinking wines from that country. They are now only second to New Zealand in U.S. market share growth. What does that mean? Well. It means that you are about to get a bunch more Argentine wines on your market shelves.

What is making Argeninian wines so popular? It is the fact that they can make really good wine, bottle it, export it, and have it delivered to store shelves for a lot cheaper than local wineries.

One such winery sent me a sample bottle this past week. Bodega Septima is a winery located in the heart of Mendoza Argentina. At the base of the Andes mountains, the building and the vines are in prime location for making some of the best Malbec in the world.

Bodega Septima is owned by the Spanish Codorniu Group. A very large family-owned conglomerate that offers wines from both Spain and Argentina. The family has wine making history going all the way back to the 1500s. They offer a full range of varietals from sparklings to Pinot Noir on both continents.

Just getting into the U.S. market, Bodega Septima relies on a marketing and PR firm to develop distribution here. Their local contact, Donna White asked if I would like to try their wine, in hopes that I would talk with all of you about it.

I received the 2009 Malbec, along with a bunch of data and tasting notes for the winery’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m thinking that they might have messed up and sent me the wrong bottle, but I’m glad I received the Malbec over the Cab.

The bottle is quite attractive, with the label design being from the ancestral method that the winery was built by stacking natural stones. Pouring the wine into the glass, the first thing that becomes very notable is the wine’s dark, almost bluish color.

The 2009 Malbec is very soft on the nose. Its gentle subtleties of anise and dark berries mix very well with the earthiness from the oaking process. The flavors are quite gentle as well, as opposed to the almost bombarding approach by Malbecs in this region. Dark, rich berries, mix with anise, plum, and soft tanned leather. The finish is silky and smooth.

If this wine prices in at the same as the Cabernet Sauvignon, which lists at $12.99, I can see why the Nielsons are grabbing the stuff up. Hopefully, you’ll have a chance to taste this wine soon as the distribution channels become available in this region.


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