Argentina for me is the three M’s Maradona, Messi and Malbec. Of course there is much more to this beautiful country but then I am a wine lover and a football addict. So my interest stops right there.
While the birth place of both the legendary footballers is Argentina, not so of the grape varietal Malbec which comes from Bordeaux France. In fact, in the pre-phylloxera Bordeaux wines, Malbec was used more than Merlot, imparting spice and color to the blend. Now Malbec does not figure much in Red Bordeaux even though it is one of the six varietals legally permitted in the blend along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Carmenere.
Malbec is now the superstar of the South American wine industry and the “national varietal” of Argentina. This is where the cépage has found glory and reached its full potential. And when you talk of Malbec and Argentina it is but natural that Trapiche comes to mind. Trapiche is Argentina’s leading wine brand and its oldest and biggest winery. They are also the largest Malbec producers in Argentina making “value wines” suited to every palate and every wallet.
Located in Mendoza at the foothills of Andes Mountains Trapiche Winery (pronounced with the “e” at the end) was established in 1883 and has been running continuously since then. It owns 1,000 ha of its own vineyards, exports 27 million cases to more than 80 countries around the world and has the largest varietal portfolio in South America. Their Single-Vineyard Malbec created by winemaker Daniel Pi is, according to Wine Spectator, “the best wines that Trapiche has ever produced” and the most awarded Malbec from Argentina.
Even though Single Vineyard Malbec is not yet available in India, what we have here are four wines from Trapiche imported by Sula Selections, the import arm of Sula Vineyards; Malbec, Oak Cask Malbec, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.
Trapiche Malbec (Rs 1270) is a bright ruby color wine with violet hints. A decent wine that you order on a casual night out with friends, it has crème de cassis, plum, pepper and mocha on the palate. It is a great introduction for those who are not familiar with Malbec, a rich fruity jammy style with soft tannins . Though this one is a little one dimensional in terms of structure, it goes well with medium spicy dishes and even pizzas and pastas.
Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec (Rs 1580) aged for 9 months in French & American oak barrels has that intense purple color which makes Malbec so easy to identify in blind tastings. I would call it a great value for money wine. Smooth with velvety tannins you get ripe juicy dark plum, black cherries, blackberry and some lovely vanilla. Oak is present but does not overpower the fruit. It has a spicy finish with a touch of nutmeg, chocolate, leather, mocha and smoke and pairs well with steaks, sizzlers and South Indian Curries especially Chettinad lamb.
It was the Trapiche Pinot Grigio (Rs 1080) which took me by surprise as this is not a varietal that you look for from a country like Argentina. A highly quaffable wine with refreshing acidity and crispness it made a great pairing with the brilliant faux Ferrero Rocher that the three J’s Chef Jatin Mallick, Chef Julia & Chef Jamsheed Bhote had created for the Trapiche wine dinner at Tres at Lodi Colony Market hosted by yours truly and Sula Selections.
The only slightly disappointing wine for me out of the four Trapiche wines available in India was the Trapiche Sauvignon Blanc (Rs 1270). It felt a little flat in terms of acidity and the nose seemed muted not really conveying what a Sauvignon Blanc stands for. I guess we have all been spoilt by the wonderful aromatic Sauvignon Blancs coming out of New Zealand and Chile if you talk of comparisons within the New World.
It’s good to see Sula Selections expanding its portfolio to include wines from Argentina (Trapiche), Chile (Cono Sur), Australia (Hardys), New Zealand (Mud House), Italy (Ruffino), France (Champagne Piper-Heidsieck) and South Africa (Kumala). It gives customers a great choice, a wine suited for every palate and budget. It doesn’t matter if you are a connoisseur or a novice. “Acche Din” for wine lovers I guess if not for others.
By: Lavina Kharkwal
Trapiche wines are easily available at most liquor and wine retail shops in Delhi in Connaught Place, Defence Colony, Vasant Vihar, Dwarka and in NCR.
To read more about Sula Selections you may click on the following links