The final seven days of the year are a festive period the world over and that remains true even as we learn to deal with the challenges presented by the pandemic, quarantine and face masks.
Because of the precautions, plans to say farewell to 2020 are necessarily smaller, more intimate affairs. But that’s no reason to be glum. The wisest course of action would be to take advantage of the situation and uncork some unique wines, the crème de la crème of your cellar, everything you’ve been looking for an excuse to open. At the end of the day, with fewer glasses on the table, there’ll be more to go around. Besides, if a year ever deserved a special send off it’s this one.
To help make sure that your toasts are unforgettable, we present an overview of the Argentine labels that have been wowing the critics recently so you can begin the countdown to better days with the best possible wine in your glass.
In 2020 Argentine wines won a large number of awards that consolidated the country’s reputation as being among the best in the world. Similarly, several labels received scores of 95 points and above at competitions and blind tastings. Here are a few very tempting bottles that earned the approval of some of the most demanding experts on the scene:
The American wine writer James Suckling pleasantly stunned the Argentine wine industry with his latest report ranking the best wines of the year: In his overall, global list he didn’t hesitate to put Chacra 32 2017 from Bodega Chacra number one. It’s a wine that many regard as the best Pinot Noir in South America and is a truly excellent choice for Burgundy lovers. Earlier this year, he also awarded 100 points to the same label along with Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2018, Adrianna Vineyard White Bones Chardonnay 2018, both from Catena Zapata; Viña Cobos Malbec 2017 and the iconic Mendozan joint venture by Terrazas de los Andes and Cheval Blanc, Cheval des Andes 2017.
In addition to the five wines that earned perfect scores, several more received between 97 and 99 points so the whole report is full of great options to suit your taste and budget.
Another expert hailing the rise of Argentine wine was the British Master of Wine Tim Atkin, a writer very familiar with the South American scene. His latest Special Report put Per Se Uní del Bonnesant 2018, a limited edition wine that Atkin describes as the ‘Chambertin of Argentine Malbecs’, top with 99 points. But given how hard it is to get your hands on it, it’s also worth checking out the next few on his list such as Cheval des Andes 2017 which received 98 points or Noemía Malbec 2018, Colomé Altura Máxima Malbec 2017, Viña Cobos Volturno 2017 and Zuccardi Piedra Infinita 2017, all of which got 97.
Meanwhile, Luis Gutiérrez, an emissary from robertparker.com, handed out another perfect score to a wine from Mendoza following his Argentinian tasting: Zuccardi Piedra Infinita 2016 was followed by 99 points for Gran Enemigo Cabernet Franc Gualtallary Single Vineyard 2016, while 98 were given to Chacra Cincuenta y Cinco Pinot Noir 2018, Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae and Adrianna Vineyard River Stones, both from 2017, Per Se Iubileus 2017, Zuccardi Piedra Infinita 2016, Gran Enemigo Cabernet Franc Gualtallary Single Vineyard 2015 and Catena Zapata White Stones Chardonnay 2018.
Meanwhile, Wine Spectator, in their Top100 Most Exciting Wines named Chacayes Malbec 2017 from Bodega Piedra Negra, an organic wine from Gualtallary in 8th place with 96 points while Domaine Bousquet Malbec 2019 came 43rd and José Zuccardi Malbec 2016 56th.
Vinous, the site run by Antonio Galloni, gave its best ever ranking to Argentine wines with first place shared by Noemia Malbec 2018, Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bcillus Terrae Malbec 2018 and Zuccardi Piedra Infinita Supercal Malbec 2017, all three of which received 97 points.
The American publication Wine Enthusiast also included some Argentine wines in its Top100 2020, specifically three reds: 4th place went to Luca Old Vine Malbec 2018 from Laura Catena, 34th to GY Malbec – Cabernet Franc 2018 from Michelini i Muffato and 58th to Polígonos del Valle de Uco San Pablo Cabernet Franc 2018. Their TOP100 Cellar Selections also featured a pair of Mendoza labels: Matervini Malbec 2017 and Gran Secreto Malbec 2016 from Bodega Siete Fincas.
The British magazine Decanter, at the 2020 edition of their Decanter World Wine Awards, gave 10 wines a Platinum Medal: Amalaya Malbec 2019, Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobes Malbec-Verdot 2018, Chakan Ayni Malbec 2018, Gran Enemigo Cabernet Franc Single Vneyard Los Chacayes 2016, Escorihuela Gascón The President´s Blend 2018, Magadalena Toso 2017, Rutini Single Vineyard Gualtallary Cabernet Franc 2017, Fabre Montmayou Reserve Malbec – Touriga nacional 2019 and Trivento’s Golden Reserve Malbec 2019 and Gaudeo Single VIneyard Tunuyán 2018. But the cherry on the cake was Colomé Lote Especial Tannat 2018’s being named Best in Show, the top award given at the annual ceremony.
More recently, Decanter’s Top Panel Tasting Wines 2020 named Terciopelo Syrah 2018 from Finca Las Glicinas the stand out wine from Argentina.
Finally, just a few days ago vinomanos.com’s list of the 50 Best Malbecs was announced, the leading Argentine website obviously being a global authority on the iconic variety. First place went to Noemía Malbec 2018 with 97 points while second was shared by Zuccardi Piedra Infinita 2017and Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae Malbec from Catena Zapata with 96.5 points. These were followed, with 96 points, by Pyros Vineyard Limestone Hill Malbec 2016 and Aluvional Paraje Altamira Malbec 2016.
That ought to plenty of material for an excellent 2020 wish list full of wines that would be an ideal way to say goodbye to 2020 and start 2021 renewed and eagerly looking forward to what the world of Argentine wine has to offer in the new year.