Bodega Argento, the leading exported Argentinian wine brand, has been moving steadily upmarket for over a decade. Eschewing the supermarket aisle for premium on-trade has allowed head winemaker Silvia Corti to spread her wings and launch two new wines – the Bodega Argento Reserve Organic Malbec and the Esquinas de Argento Pinot Grigio 2016.
The new organic Malbec from Bodega Argento is just the start of a series of new projects from Silvia Corti.
Bodega Argento is on a journey up-market. And who better to lead it than Silvia Corti, 45, the Argentine company’s head winemaker.
Corti, in London recently as part of a two-week trip meeting the on-trade in Europe and Russia, is very like the wines she produces: vivacious, balanced and with a winning style.
A professional to her finger tips, she brushes aside any suggestion that she has done well to make it in a man’s world: this is her life’s expertise – she studied wine production at university, is steeped in the science and technical know-how behind it and yet still remains passionate about what she produces.
But clearly Bodega Argento’s new and bigger aspirations – and funding provided by the comparatively new owners – are providing her with a once-in-a-career chance. Specifically, it is giving her the opportunity to go organic and follow what she learned about vines from her grandmother when she was a child.
“My grandmother’s vineyard did not need chemicals,” Silvia explains, “And now we are moving back in that same direction. At my university there was a big emphasis on a lot of chemical engineering with herbicides and pesticides. With organic cultivation we are ending that and you see that a handful of soil is quite different to the touch.”
All sounds good for the environment, but what about the wine: how does that taste?
Silvia is pretty emphatic here: “Organic means expressive”, she says. “Where the soil has been heavily treated, you find the soil and product are more standardised. Our organic wines express themselves”.
Unsurprisingly for a wine hailing from Argentina, the new organic wine is a Malbec.
The Bodega Argento Reserve Organic Malbec is the first fully-organically produced Bodega Argento wine in the UK market and the only organic wine from Argentina in the Bibendum portfolio. Made with 100% Malbec it comes from Bodega Argento’s entirely organic plot in Altamira, Uco Valley.
Organic production not only ensures that winemaking is sustainable, but also allows the winemaker to ‘conserve more of the fruit’s essence in the wine’, according to the company which chose the Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch for the launch.
Bodega Argento is situated at the foothills of the Andes Mountains, in Mendoza. Mendoza claims to be unique in terms of altitude, climate, low humidity plus natural meltwater irrigation. Incidentally, thinking about these as New World wines can be misleading – the region was producing wine thirty years before the Spanish Armada set sail for England.
Bodega Argento, the leading brand in Argentina in terms of the export volumes in the last 15 years, started the trek up-market almost a decade ago. Owned for almost six years by the Alejandro Bulgheroni group, the winemaker has recently been eschewing the supermarket aisle for the on-trade.
Corti has been allowed to spread her wings, announcing not just the first fully-organic wine but also an addition to the Esquinas, ‘urban’ wine brand. The Esquinas de Argento Pinot Grigio 2016 joins the range’s well-established Malbec and will be listed in Picturehouse cinemas.