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What variety will be Malbec’s successor?

March 1, 2011 by Juan Diego Wasilevsky | in Exports, News

Alejandro Vigil, Alberto Arizu and Ernesto Catena give their opinion about the future of Argentina’s star varietal and they point out the need for diversification.

Most of the enormous enthusiasm for Argentinian wine abroad is due to the success of Malbec, which is very well received in several strategic markets. Thus, it achieved very good results and the figures are the best proof: four out of ten bottles of Argentinian wines opened in different parts of the world are Malbec. Moreover, exports of this variety are growing at a rate of 32% -in foreign currency-, almost doubling the year-over-year growth rate of bottled wine.

Even though the prospects for Argentinian wines are good, the fact is that analysts already anticipate lower growth of sales during this year. In this context, three undisputed referents discuss the future of Malbec.

Alejandro Vigil, Catena Zapata’s Chief Winemaker, calmed the situation down by maintaining that “we still have a long way to go concerning Malbec. Both the terroir identification and communication have just started and there is a lot to study, develop and communicate as regards this issue.”

Likewise, Alberto Arizu (Jr), commercial director of Bodega Luigi Bosca and president of Wines of Argentina, emphasized that without doubt our Malbec will keep on being our flag wine, reputation achieved among connoisseurs all around the world.” It is a recognized variety and that will not change,” he maintained.

However, according to experts, diversification is the key.

In this sense, Vigil considered that “we should see in the long term and insist on Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which are the classic varieties in the world and they give as the chance to make great wines,” he emphasized. “In last Parker’s review, Nicolás Catena Zapata, a Cabernet Sauvignon, achieved 98 points and a 30-dollar Chardonnay got 92. This shows us that we should work in this sense. For the time being, I see other varieties, such as Bonarda and Torrontés, more identified with particular regions rather than with the country,” he added.

Furthermore, Luigi Bosca’s director agreed with Vigil and highlighted that “Argentina is one of the countries with greatest diversity in the world, considering its terroirs, altitudes and different varieties. In my opinion, the variety Cabernet Sauvignon will achieve great recognition due to its pretty high quality, as well as blends made of red wines, where Argentina is also showing its importance and innovation day by day.”

Nevertheless, unlike Vigil, Arizu considered that “as regards white varieties, today the world is looking for pleasant, fruity and floral wines, without too much complexity, which follows new gastronomic trends; and that ensures the success of our Torrontés.”

Ernesto Catena, CEO of Escorihuela Gascón and president of Ernesto Catena Vineyards, maintained that Bonarda will not be the next varietal that will succeed in captivating international critics. “I think that it will take a long time to accept this variety. It is not its moment yet, there is few amount of really delicious Bonarda wine, basically because there is no demand.”

In contrast, he pointed out: “I would go for Pinot Noir, which has much more demand in the world and I would leave Bonarda for the next 5 or 10 years.”

Source: This article was published in Infobae.

Translation: Ana Tagua

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