By Charlotte Santry
They’re unorthodox, deep and expressive, leave you daydreaming about sexy wet flesh, age well, love steak, and won’t have you regretting anything the morning after. What isn’t there to love about Argentinean Uco Valley wines?
I’ve been an adoring fan ever since a trip to the region three years ago, and even served the stuff at my wedding, at which everything else – even the “champagne” – was sourced close to the Cornish venue.
So the chance to sample some of the Uco Valley’s most luxurious (ie pricey) export wines in the airy tasting room above The Troubadour Gallery, which adjoins the legendary The Troubadour restaurant and music venue, was too good to miss.
The nerdy bit
In a nutshell, Uco Valley grapes are grown 1,200m above sea level in the Andes, near Mendoza, Argentina, and benefit from a cooler, drier than average climate that helps them to ripen slowly, meaning they develop rich, fruity flavours.
The Troubadour’s exuberant director of wines, Atilio Falco, puts it more colourfully: “It’s like when you see a woman coming out of the shower. She’s showing all her natural beauty.” Similarly, with these wines, “we see all the naked expression of the grape,” he explains.
Decide for yourself. Here's a picture of a lady in the courtesy of Flickr user SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget.
And here's a picture of Argentinean Uco Valley grapes courtesy of Flickr user T. Chen.
Having indulged the Sapphic fantasies of the well turned-out ladies of Kensington, Atilio gets to the REALLY good bit about Uco Valley wines.
Brilliantly, they don’t require as many nasty pesticides and preservatives as wines grown in hotter regions that suffer from bug infestations. According to some experts, this reduces the level of sulphites in the wine, minimising the hangover effect.
Without the worry of hangovers, we race through a massive 10 varieties of wine produced by the Mauricio Lorca winery. Don’t worry; we slosh tons of it away into the buckets provided, if only to get to the £60-a-pop stuff more quickly. And one bottle is corked, so our tally’s reduced to a mere nine glasses.
One in 20 bottles of wine is corked, though only one in 200 of these is detected.
At least I think this was the stat. My notes get progressively spindly as the evening wears on. One page simply has the phrase “cat’s piss” sprawled across it.
Actually, I wasn’t being rude; it turns out cat’s pee is a bona fide oenological term to describe the smell of many wines, including very good ones.
The evening technically culminates with the Inspirado 2008, an appropriately rich, decadent blend of four grape types. However, the real climax of the night is a surprise appearance by the “wine maverick” Mr Mauricio Lorca himself, who has flown in from Mendoza and tells Fluid London that, despite his “maverick” reputation, his favourite place to grab food (and, no doubt, a decent Malbec) in London is the Gaucho chain of Argentinean restaurants.
By the end of the evening my friend and I are sufficiently impressed - and tipsy - to ask if we can buy bottles of the Fantasia Malbec 2011 and Fantasia Torrentes 2011.
Alas, they’re sold out, so we head even further downstairs to The Troubadour’s chasmal basement, to drown our sorrows; with a glass of wine. Isn’t that what most people do after a wine-tasting evening? Time to test out that “no hangover” theory.
6 Venues To Swig Argentinean Wine In London
1) The Troubadour restaurant and music venue, naturally.
2) Moo grill and bar near Liverpool Street
3) Gaucho Argentinean restaurants at various locations around London.
4) Santa Maria Del Sur restaurant in Battersea
5) Garufa restaurant in Highbury
6) Constancia restaurant in Bermondsey