Laithwaites buy 6 save 30%
Laithwaites buy 6 save 30%
Find the best prices on the drinks you want, enjoy exclusive voucher codes and make amazing savings

Wine52’s Gaucho Extravaganza

Wine52 San Juan Case 1

As with every month, my latest installment of Wine52 arrived, sporting 4 wines from San Juan in Argentina. It lies in the shadow of the Andes just North of Mendoza, the region that likely single-handedly brought you a love for Malbec. The Andes meltwater provides excellent irrigation for the vineyards although climate change has caused this to become more of a concern and growers are having to use water more sustainably. The common practice is to dig channels in the vineyards and literally flood them with water! Some form of irrigation is particularly important here as the climate is best described as a semi-desert.

The region is perhaps best known for altitude these days, with vineyards going up to around 2000m above sea level. In recent years more and more producers have been exploring higher plantings and as a result the wines’ reputations have risen. Yes, inexpensive grapes are still mass produced on the valley floors, but that isn’t the wine you’ll be tasting in this case. The most planted grape is actually Syrah (not Malbec), followed by Malbec and then Bonarda, which is generally consumed by the locals. Those in the know are waiting for the Malbec bubble to burst so these other wines can start to enter the limelight.

As for white grapes, the one I was half-expecting but still excited to see was Torrontes. This is a bit of a hidden gem and thoroughly deserving of kicking Pinot Grigio out of your fridge for good. It is light and refreshing to a greater degree than most Pinots, but it packs much more of a flavour punch, and a much more interesting one too. The two key things it has are rose water/Turkish delight and lychee and they taste great in a wine. So, how was the case?

The San Juan Four

Mysterio Torrontes

The one I was most excited about had to come first. To many, Torrontes is probably a bit of a mysterio being rarely seen in wine stores or overlooked if so. But, as I’ve said, it’ll help turn your head from Pinot Grigio on to better, more interesting and flavourful pastures. And this wine does just that.

Rose and Lychee intermingle giving a bright, perfumed lead on the palate. As these mellow, white flowers, citrus, ripe nectarine and jasmine come into focus. A nice medium-full body gives a sense of richness on the tongue whilst the good level of acidity and saline aftertaste make it perfect for a hot Summer’s day.

Hijo del Sol petit Verdot

Petit Verdot is another grape you don’t see too often, at least on its own, but it is one that thrives in warm climates and can make some spicy, high tannin wines. It is often a small but highly prized component of top Bordeaux’s and becoming all the more crucial there thanks to global warming. Read about how Bordeaux is fighting climate change here. I’ll admit I’ve not tried many single varietal Petit Verdot wines, but this is one of the best I’ve come across.

A complex layer greets you from the off with cherry, plum and dark fruits which intermingle with earthy, leathery undertones. The garrigue (aka dried herbs) of the French wildlands, violet and tobacco are also well interwoven creating a lovely, varied wine that punches well above its price point.

Wine52 Chile

La Luna Descansa Malbec

No better way to finish Argentina than with their classic, Malbec. I normally avoid Malbec unless ordering at dinner for a number of people to share because it is so popular, but, for me, Malbecs have become a little stale and unexciting. Still, it wouldn’t be a great exploration on Wine52s part if they went to Argentina without getting a Malbec. So, how was it?

The nose was a pleasant surprise with more varied fruits and good intensity. Black plum, red, sour cherry, violet, dried herbs and a smidge of graphite. On the palate, it has a smooth, luscious texture which you’d expect from a good Malbec. The fruits came across a bit more delicately than on the nose but still nice and intense. Additional notes of chocolate combined well with the hefty, but smooth tannin. And on the finish a relishing blackcurrant jam flavour lingers nicely.

Grab your free case now! >
Updated 24th April 2024

David Andrews, DipWSET

David Andrews, DipWSET

David brings great enthusiasm to the wine industry, starting with Majestic Wine in 2019 and now joining us at Winesdirect in 2023. He has completed his WSET Diploma qualification and looking forward to share his expert knowledge and tidbits of the wine world.

As an industry enthusiast and expert, David also writes a regular blog on instagram. Check it out here @oinosattheoikos

Read more articles by: David Andrews

Laithwaites buy 6 save 30%