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To showcase the diversity of their recently launched wine list, Gaucho is offering guests the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary tasting of a selection of six wines from their extensive list of 175, at their 11 restaurants. The new wine list was launched in May and is thought to be the largest collection of Argentine wine in one place, outside South America.

This month creator of the list Phil Crozier has selected six of the best to showcase the great diversity of grapes, styles and terroirs of the list.

Comments Phil, “For many years I have watched the quality of the wines get better, but from 2002 each passing vintage just seems to improve exponentially. We are now seeing the 2006 wines coming through, and they are fantastic. It seems that the trend towards regional and single vineyard wines is gaining pace, particularly with Malbec.

“For the last few years, we have been paying particular attention to the effect of altitude on the wines, and can see a pattern emerging with the style of wines being produced, particularly in the Uco valley, the highest region of Mendoza. We therefore now put the altitude of the vineyards next to each wine on the menu. We have also introduced this year a sign denoting wines that have had no or little oak treatment, since many of our guests prefer that purity of the grape without oak. We have found that guests are increasingly asking which styles of wines are on offer.”

TASTERS: which will change monthly
Six of Phil Crozier’s favourites:

1. El Porvenir de los Andes ‘Laborum’ Torrontes 2007 – Salta 1750m
From the north of Argentina, the town of Cafayate is famous for this grape, thought to originate from Galicia in Spain. Here in Salta it achieves its best expression. Very perfumed and elegant. We now have seven Torrontes on the list from Salta, which are a perfect accompaniment to Ceviche and spice.
Restaurant price £34.75, Cavas de Gaucho price £16.55

2. Terruño Bonarda 2007 – Santa Rosa – Mendoza 600m
We often ignore the lower areas of Mendoza in favour of the higher altitude wines. But there are many grape varieties that enjoy a little heat to enable the ripening and softening of the tannins. Bonarda is one such grape variety. This is Gaucho’s own label, being made for us by José Alberto Zuccardi in Santa Rosa, in the east of Mendoza. Ripe blackberry and Christmas pudding spice with soft and juicy tannins, rum and raisin ice cream in the mouth.
Restaurant price £22.00, Cavas de Gaucho £10.50

3. Trapiche Broquel Cabernet Franc 2007 – Maipu – Mendoza 776m
From Cruz de Piedra in Maipu, it is unusual to find Cabernet Franc (sometimes known as Bouchet in Argentina) as a single varietal in the new world. Lots of leafy violets and cassis, with Chambord raspberry and dense blackberry jam, this is a wine with great finesse. On this evidence, Cabernet Franc has a great future in Argentina, and this is one of three that have now formed their own section on the menu.
Restaurant price £27.25, Cavas de Gaucho price £13.00

4. Pascal Toso Reserva Malbec 2006 – Barrancas – Maipu – Mendoza 776m
Pascal Toso is one of the oldest existing wineries in Argentina. Barrancas, where they have most of their vineyards, stands next to the Rio Mendoza at the edge of an old Ravine (which formed the bed of this mighty river thousands of years ago). Maipu is fairly warm, giving good ripeness. The fruit is especially pronounced, with lots of raspberry, cassis and mulberry. This area gives lots of pepper spice on the finish. The glorious opulence of the mouthfeel is what Maipu does best.
Restaurant price £34.75, Cavas de Gaucho price £16.55

5. Terruño Alto Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec 2006 – Mendoza 900 – 1402m
This now heads the fine and rare menu and is under our own label, Terruño but a high altitude quality blend (Alto). Catena has been at the forefront of high altitude viticulture, so we wanted to make a blend with winemakers Mariela Molinari and José Galante last November. This is 40% Malbec and 60% Cabernet Sauvignon from three vineyard sites. Lunlunta (altitude 860m) lends ripe plum and chocolate flavours and a very soft, supple mouthfeel. Agrelo (altitude 940m) offers blackberry fruit with earthy tones and notes of spice and black pepper. Tupungato (altitude 1402m) gives a core of blackcurrant and explosive floral aromatics bringing excellent concentration, balance, finesse and freshness to the overall blend.
Restaurant price £51.25, Cavas de Gaucho £24.40

6. Gran Lorca ‘Poetico’ Petit Verdot 2006 – Vista Flores – Uco Valley 1150m
Mauricio Lorca is one of the brightest young wine – makers in Argentina. His vineyards are in Vista Flores, one of Phil’s favourite areas of Mendoza. Petit Verdot needs a long time to ripen and in Argentina, it has plenty of time. The perfume of this grape is very pronounced in this wine, lots of violets and Jasmine, but the mouth has loads of power – dense tannins and pencil shavings with a leafy bramble flavour. The intensity makes it a perfect match for beef and lamb. Not for the faint hearted but a glorious wine for the real enthusiast.
Restaurant price £56.00, Cavas de Gaucho £26.70

www.gauchorestaurants.com

For further information, images or to taste the wines with Phil, please contact
Rosamund Hitchcock, 0207 384 1333 or rosamund@randr.co.uk
4th July, 2008

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