Just when you thought the football season was over….it’s not. Tomorrow night Wembley stadium is hosting a match between Argentina and Italy, respective winners of the Copa América and the European Championship, as they compete for the Conmebol-UEFA Champions Cup. To mark the occasion members of Argentina’s 1986 World Cup winning football team have come together with Mendoza Vineyards to produce a range of exclusive wines, one of which will be served at the Wembley final, and then made available to the trade to be sold.
La Final 2018, Heroes 2018 and Finalissima 2019 are the three wines that Mendoza Vineyards has created specially for the return of the Conmebol-UEFA Champions Cup.
The current Argentinian team probably won’t get the chance to personally taste the new wines that have been created to celebrate Argentina’s involvement in this week’s Conmebol-UEFA Champions Cup – primarily because most of them don’t drink.
If they do share a glass or two then they have the existing members of Argentina’s 1986 World Cup winning team to thank for helping to come up with the three wines that have been made specially for the game against Italy – the current European Champions.
The winemaking talent comes from Mendoza Vineyards, part of the Origin Wines group, who were tasked with producing exclusive wines to celebrate Argentina’s famous victory over Germany in the 1986 final.
The range includes two wines that will go on general sale after the match which includes: La Final 2018, a 100% Malbec from Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo; and Héroes 2018 a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot also from Agrelo. A third wine, Finalissima Malbec 2019, has been produced to be served at the game at Wembley on June 1 to VIP guests.
The two wines have been made to symbolise what Argentina is famous for as a wine country, La Final, and to also represent and champion the players themselves – hence Héroes brand. Finalissima was the idea of the team’s goal keeper, Pumpido. Both he and Ruggeri will be at the match at Wembley and wanted to be able to bring and share an exclusive wine to offer VIPs at the event.
The partnership between the winery and Argentina’s football authorities came via the winery’s commercial director, Jorge del Valle, and Oscar Ruggeri, a member of the 1986 team – famous for being nicknamed ‘El Cabezón’ or The Big-Headed One.
Ruggeri soon got the other remaining members of the 1986 team to get involved in the project. They include: Jorge Burruchaga; Ricardo Enrique Bochini; Nery Pumpido; Oscar Garré; Julio Olarticoechea; Carlos Daniel Tapia; Ricardo Giusti and Carlos Pachamé.
Sadly the team’s inspirational captain, hero and icon of Argentina, Diego Maradona, is no longer with us. Oscar Garré says: “Diego would be proud and made up that we are all together presenting these wines.”
(If you fancy watching some highlights of the 1986 World Cup Final click below)
Referring to Argentina’s 1986 manager, Dr Carlos Salvador Bilardo, Bochini adds: “El Doctor always said that drinking wine was better than fizzy drinks and that a glass was good for you.”
As well as the 11 members of the original team, the wines have been made to celebrate the entire family of people involved in the 1986 Championships including the medics, technicians, physiotherapists and financiers.
Royalties from sales of the wines will go towards a fund to help out any of the families involved requiring assistance. The two are initially being launched in Argentina in the on and off-trade and Origin says there is already “a lot of interest in the US and other European countries”. It is looking for a retail partner in the UK.
About the Wines
La Final 2018 (£25): 100% Malbec from Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks followed by 15 months in oak barrels; 60% French oak and 40% American oak of first and second use. 14% alcohol. Wines for La Final and Héroes were both sourced from grapes on Mendoza Vineyards estate in Agrelo.
Héroes 2018 (£40): 50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot from Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. Each varietal fermented separately in stainless steel tanks then blended and aged for 15 months in 80% French oak and 20% American oak of first and second use. 14.5% alcohol.
Finalissima 2019: 100% Malbec from La Consulta, Mendoza. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks followed by 24 months in new French oak barrels. 14.5% alcohol. Finalissima is a one-off 100 bottle run of a super-premium wine made from grapes in La Consulta in the Uco Valley.
- The Conmebol-UEFA Champions Cup was previously known officially as the European/South American Nations Cup, or Artemio Franchi Cup, and is organised by UEFA and CONMEBOL between the winners of the UEFA European Championship and Copa America. It has been held twice before twice in 1985 and 1993 – when Argentina beat Denmark 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
- For more details about the June 1 match between Argentina and Italy click here.