Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes


2012 Bodegas Tonel Malbec, Mendoza

£5.99, 14, Lidl

Hard to beat for its sheer exuberance and gluggability, this is a brilliantly priced Argentinean Malbec with classic violet perfume, a touch of smoky oak and oodles of plum, blackberry and liquorice fruit. Made for a juicy steak, but this is smooth enough to work with spring lamb, too.





2014 Santa Ana Malbec, Mendoza

£5.99, 12.5%, Majestic

Aromatic, attractive and showing all the exuberance and fruit sweetness of Mendoza Malbec at its most appealing, this is all about fruit rather than power, alcohol and oak. There’s enough tannin and structure here to partner a Christmas roast or a thick steak.





2012 Fairtrade Argentine Malbec, Famatina Valley, La Rioja

£6.99, 13%, The Co-operative

Stop press! This is the best Fairtrade wine I've had yet from Argentina and one of the best I've had from anywhere, too. Sourced from La Rioja (nothing to do with the Spanish region of the same name), it's very, very aromatic, with wafts of liquourice and violets, a hint of spice and deeply coloured, textured bramble and blackberry fruit. The tannins are plush and sweet, with subtle use of oak. Bravo!





2010 Viñalba Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/Merlot, Mendoza

£9.99 down to £7.49, 14.5%, Sainsbury's

Hervé Joyaux has brought a French sensibility to Argentina, producing well balanced reds at appealing prices that have more than a hint of sophistication. This a pretty serious Bordeaux blend for less than £10, with sweet French oak, appealing violet and bramble aromas, good underlying strucuture and plush, layered tannins. Great value. 





2012 Miguel Torres Reserva de Pueblo, Cepa País, Itata Valley

£7.50, 12, The Wine Society

País (known as Mission in California and Criolla in Argentina) was the grape that the Spaniards brought first to South America. For all its antiquity, it tends to make pretty basic wines, largely because it's mostly over-cropped and grown in the wrong places. This Chilean example shows another side to the variety, made with carbonic maceration for maximum fruit impact and soft, sweetly textured tannins. Bright and juicy, with notes of raspberry, red cherrry and just a hint of pepper spice, it's the perfect summery red. Pass me the ice bucket. 





2012 Viñalba Torrontés Selección, Mendoza

£9.99, 13.5%, Majestic Wine

A winery that is best known for its great value Argentinean reds, Viñalba can strut its stuff with white grapes too. This is a classically aromatic example of Torrontés, Argentina's adopted white grape, with lemon peel and sherbet flavours, bright acidity and a hint of lime zest.





2011 Finca Flichman Gestos Malbec, Mendoza

£5.99, 14%, Majestic

This Portuguese-owned operation in Mendoza makes someof the best value wines in Argentina at the moment, typified by this pungent, sweetly oaked Malbec. It's got a ripe, almost honeyed sweetness to it, balanced by notes of vanilla, blackberry and spice. You have to serve this with a juicy steak. 





2010 Viñalba Reserva Cabernet/Malbec/Petit Verdot , Mendoza

£8.99, 14.5%, Majestic

Viñalba makes some of the most consistently tasty red wines in Argentina, and at very approachable prices. This full-bodied Bordeaux style blend is plush and concentrated with sweet, well integrated oak, flavours of chocolate and plums, ripe tannins and good underlying freshness. If you're bored of Malbec, try this instead.