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In every wine lover’s calendar, the most awaited event at this time of the year is the release of the Guia Descorchados (Uncorked Guide) written by Patricio Tapia, Latin-American Wine Critic. Published for the first time in 1999, Descorchados is the most important guide to the wines of South America.
For the 2020 edition, Patricio Tapia tasted more than 1,600 wines, a whole record of sampled wines for one edition. During the launch ceremony, we asked him about the discoveries of this edition and about the future of Argentina as a producer of wines with a sense of place.
It was an intense year. We set a record in the number of wines we tasted, and I think that there is a strong feeling that the steering wheel is turning in a different direction. Of course, there are wines that follow the traditional style: concentrated, oak-aged. However, they are coexisting with other styles: fresh, more vivid, easier to drink and with a sense of place. We note there are faunas that coexist in an agreeable ecosystem, unlike past times when those which were aiming to get a different and original style were pointed as green wines. That is promising for a wider range of alternatives for consumers.
It’s difficult to be identified as a wine producer with a sense of place. It’s like the last step of a long journey. There are a few regions recognizable for their sense of place, such as Burgundy or Barolo. But it takes time to get there.
I do think that people who are properly informed -like critics, specialized communicators and sommeliers- can recognize that the Malbec from Uco Valley is a grape variety adapted to a specific place and it is showing differences depending on where it is planted. It was the kickoff of a long match that would involve identification and sense of place, connection with the environment or, in other words, with nature.
Yes! Thing is that when one talks about Altamira, Gualtallary, El Cepillo or San Pablo, they still are rather heterogeneous areas.
Gualtallary, one of the best known, contains many Gualtallaries, not just one. I like to think, and it’s just a theory, that the really important area is Monasterio. There’s a rock formation that opened the way for specific soils, like the cemento indio, that offers distinct characteristics. Having said that, it’s daring to define it as the Grand Cru from Uco Valley or one of the Grand Cru. I do believe that it will be one of them because it gathers together unique characteristics that are translated into some of the wines made there.
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Journalist. WSET® L2 Wines & Spirits. Passionate about communicating the wonderful world of wine. Member of ‘Argentina Wine Bloggers’. Critic at ‘Vino Sub30 2015 edition’. Collaborator in Argentine Association of Sommeliers.