Drinking Beautifully

Each week I will post a blog which looks to the future, present day and the past 13 years of my trips to Argentina, featuring 3 wines that will be available in all Gaucho restaurants for you to try. They will also be available by the glass for that week too.

Please feel free to feed back your views @mrArgentina

Phil Crozier
Director of Wines at Gaucho

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    Week of 14th April 2014
    Malbec and me

    My relationship with wine started 15 years ago, when my passion for Argentina and its wines was woken by my first trip in 1999. But Malbec was not really on the radar then. I was barely aware of this wonderful variety, and, if my memory serves me correctly, nor was Argentina fully aware of what a powerhouse it would become...

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    Week of 10th February 2014
    The Return of D'Oro

    I am proud to announce that we now have our 9 barrel selection of our own wine, Vina Patricia, in stock in the restaurants. Making this blend with our dear winemaker friend, Mauricio Lorca is always a steep learning curve
    for me.

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    Week of 20th January 2014
    Future trends for Argentina 2014

    For the past 5 years, Malbec has been the fastest growing grape variety in the world. This has shot Argentina, blinking, into the spotlight. In terms of media excitement, though, I feel that, in true journalistic form, the focus is now on new areas and new grapes. Aristides from elsewhere in the world.

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    Week of 30th December 2013
    Wines to bring in the New Year

    Over the years, I have been fortunate to work with many of the great people of a Argentina. The vast majority of wine business I have, and continue to deal with are family businesses. In these days of big corporate business, it is always refreshing to deal with a family, where relationships are still very personal.

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    Week of 2nd December 2013
    The Rio Negro

    An often forgotten corner of Argentina, the Rio. Negro in Northern Patagonia has a long and rich history. Originally settled by Italian and German immigrants, the British made their mark with a railway and canal system that still dominates today.

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    Week of 25th November 2013
    Travels in Argentina

    2013 has to be the best vintage of the last 10 years. It was long, with very cool temperatures in February, March and April. This means that the vintage took a very long time to bring in, with some Cabernet Sauvignon ( a late ripening variety ) still coming I at the beginning of May.

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    Week of 4th November 2013
    The wines of Mariano Quiroga Adam

    Mariano is one of the new breed of Argentine winemakers that I have been talking about for the last few weeks. It is pertinent that I write at this time about his wines because I am in Mendoza, preparing to go to Salta next week.

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    Week of 28th October 2013
    The wonderful world of Matias Michelini

    Matias, together with his brothers Geraldo and Juan Pablo who together run a small winery called Zorzal, at the dizzy heights of around 1300m in one of the highest wineries in Mendoza.

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    Week of 21st October 2013
    The wines of Matias Riccitelli

    In May this year, I had the good fortune of spending a day at Matias Riccitelli's project in Vistalba, lujan de Cuyo. We tasted a number of single vineyard malbecs from different parts of mendoza just as they had finished fermenting.

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    Week of 14th October 2013
    The wines of Marcelo Pelleriti

    With the launch of our new menu this week, I will be concentrating on some of the new wines made by a new breed of winemakers currently blazing a trail in Argentina.

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    Week of 7th October 2013
    The Winemakers

    This week, to mark the start of my new autumn wine menu, I will be concentrating on showcasing some of the new winemakers emerging from Argentina.

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    Week of 23rd September 2013
    The sweet wines of Argentina
    Torrontes 3 ways

    I don't know about you, but on the rare occasion that I indulge in a desert in a restaurant, I am more interested in the matching of a sweet wine to pair with said indulgence than the desert itself.

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    Week of 16th September 2013
    Drinking beautifully

    There are times when I need to go back over older wines that have remained on the menu for some time, especially when I am looking to put new wines on the forthcoming October list.

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    Week of 9th September 2013
    Gaucho Wines of the year 2013 Continued...

    This week I will be featuring four wines that form a group of five wines that have been nominated for wine of the year at our Gaucho winemaker awards for 2013.

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    Week of 2nd September 2013
    Gaucho Wines of the year 2013

    This week I will be featuring three wines that form a group of five wines that have been nominated for wine of the year at our Gaucho winemaker awards for 2013.

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    Vote for the best Argentine wine of 2013

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    Week of 26th August 2013
    To the east!

    Whilst everyone is planting new grape vines to the south of Mendoza, in the oh so trendy districts of Altamira, la Consulta, Gualtallary etc, we cannot ignore that most of the wine is actually made in the east.

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    Week of 19th August 2013
    Appellation wines of Catena

    To date, there is only one geographical appellation in Argentina. And that is Lujan de Cuyo. In the 1980's, some wineries with much forethought decided to make some malbecs that conformed to a geographical and quality level that determined the minimum age of vines, maximum yields and oak treatment.

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    Week of 12th August 2013
    Blending Cabernet Franc

    During the past few years I have been blessed with the opportunity of bleeding wines in Argentina. And, in keeping with what is going on in the wine business there, I have increasingly fallen head over heals with Cabernet Franc.

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    Week of 5th August 2013
    Old world vs new

    There are times when our guests have only their favourite wines to give us a better idea of what they would want from our list. Yes, they all love Malbec now, and they know that this is what Argentina does better than anybody. But what If they want something closer to home?

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    Week of 29th July 2013
    Bottle age anyone?

    We are now all used to the fact that most of our wines are pretty young. I find my self frequently justifying this to our guests, with a well worn speech about grape ripeness.

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    Week of 22nd July 2013
    Big white wines

    Some white wines are a must for sipping whilst winding down after another hot day. I have been extolling the virtues of Argentina's own grape variety, Torrontes over the last few weeks.

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    Week of 15th July 2013
    Torrontés 3 ways

    With these sizzling temperatures likely to remain for the next couple of weeks, Torrontes is the perfect fit as a sundowner. But it has so many other ways to fulfil its potential too.

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    Week of 8th July 2013
    Chilling reds

    With the sweltering heat, and having bagged a table on one of our many terraces, the thought of a big, full bodied wine may not appeal. So, is it ok to chill red wine? Of course it is.

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    Week of 24th June 2013
    In praise of Valle de Calchaqui, Salta

    A visit by a wonderful old lady from Salta, Northern Argentina set me thinking about wines from the North this week.

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    Week of 17th June 2013
    The joys of Bonarda

    Whilst it is hard for me to stay away from the delights of Malbec, as you would expect, there is another red grape varietal from Argentina that is increasingly stealing some of the limelight away from the might of Malbec. It is called Bonarda. Well, actually it is called Bonarda Argentina.

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    Week of 10th June 2013
    The wines of Susana Balbo

    This week, we have the honour of the company of Susana Balbo. I have known Susana for many years, and been a great admirer of her wines.

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    Week of 5th June 2013
    White blends

    Whilst we all look at wine lists according to region and grape variety, a somewhat confusing state of affairs, it is with some difficulty that I can persuade people to drink a white blend. Too complicated? Too much to think about?

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    Week of 27th May 2013
    The aromatics

    Aromatics are an essential part of wine, being the precursor the taste and texture in the mouth. Your palate is largely made up of your nose. In fact, as my experience of tasting continues, I would say that my ability to taste is made up of around 80% by my nose.

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    Week of 6th May 2013
    Tupungato - 'Balcony to the stars'

    With Malbec being known for its big, juicy, rich style, this weather can sometimes steer people away from Malbec and towards a more elegant, delicate red to compliment the weather. So the blog wines this week are here to put this ‘moving away from malbec’ theory under threat.

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    Week of 22nd April 2013
    New wines for April 2013

    Argentina now enjoys the second highest spend per bottle on a bottle of wine in the U.K., after New Zealand (this is driven by great sauvignon blancs and fantastic pinot noirs). This is exactly where Argentina needs to be.

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    Week of 15th April 2013
    World Malbec Day at Gaucho

    Gaucho restaurants in London, Manchester and Leeds join 30 cities around the world in celebrating culture, food and wine from Argentina on World Malbec Day, Wednesday 17 April.

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    Week of 8th April 2013
    Las Compuertas - Lujan de Cuyo

    The department of Las Compuertas lies to the west of Mendoza, in Lujan de Cuyo. It is a small but perfectly formed vineyard area, and those lucky enough to own vineyards know that this is an indeed a great area.

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    Week of 25th March 2013
    Cabernet oh Cabernet!

    You see, Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between that of Franc and sauvignon blanc, both of which are Bordeaux varietals, being the result of a chance cross pollination during the 17th century.

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    Week of 18th March 2013
    Cabernet Franc - the Bordeaux connection

    In 1852, at the request of Sarmiento, the seventh president of Argentina, Amee Puget brought grapes from France to the university of Mendoza. Up until this point, the grape varierties grown were mainly brought by immigrants from Italy and Spain.

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    Week of 11th March 2013
    The diversity of Torrontés…

    I consider myself to be a very lucky man. I champion a nation that has its own grape variety. Science can be a romance crusher sometimes. It was thought that Torrontés, a grape variety that is grown in the North of Argentina, was first brought to the Andes by Missionaries from Galicia in Spain.

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    Week of 4th March 2013
    All that sparkles...

    Argentines are a joyous lot. I can’t remember the the number of times that a bottles of bubbly has been spontaneously broken out just for the hell of it.

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    Week of 25th February 2013
    Grapes with a difference

    ‘It’s like sticking your head in a bucket of ink whilst sharpening a pencil’ , I said. ‘Ooh - let’s have a bottle of that’, said one of our guests, on one of my monthly visits to Leeds on Saturday. I was describing the flavour profile of Petit Verdot, a temperamental grape varietal that originates from Bordeaux in France.

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    Week of 18th February 2013
    Blending cool and warm climate

    It is common practice in Mendoza, Argentina’s most prolific region of wine production, to blend grapes from different sub - regions. Cool climate, to be found in the southern region of Mendoza, gives fruit much colour and aroma, since aroma and acidity are destroyed by too much heat...

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    Week of 11th February 2013
    NO OAK

    I don’t have anything against oak. In fact, I love the taste. I have tasted wine from barrel in more wineries than I care to remember...

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    Week of 4th February 2013
    "LUNATICO"

    Over the years, I have met my fair share of characters in Argentina, all with passion, warmth and a touch of madness about them. The wine industry seems to attract the eccentric, all trying in their own way to fulfil their dreams...

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