Recently a Master of Wine friend said he wanted to try more Argentinian Malbec. As a classical drinker I though this a tad odd, until I recalled my first experience with fine Argentinian wine.
As long-time readers will know, I’ve been in loony bins far too often. Once, on an escorted trip outside, I spotted a small wine merchant. When scanning the shelves with increasing despair a dusty bottle on the bottom shelf caught my eye.
It was an experimental Malbec/Corvina blend called ‘Passo Doble’ made by Masi Tupungato, the Argentinian venture of the great Veneto producer. It seemed like ideal, and appropriately bonkers, entertainment for the afternoon.
At a quiet spot in Highgate Park we popped and poured the wine. After weeks without wine the bitter cherry, earthy, compelling nose instantly transported me to a happier place. It had round, complex flavours. I found its suave, sophisticated structure impressive especially considering its price point. Clearly life had more pleasures for me to discover. I returned to hospital thoroughly energised.
Since then this wine has been a favourite. So much so that last week, at A La Cruz, a top London Asador, we got through four bottles. Each sip evoked that happy afternoon and how wine can illuminate even the darkest moments. I have been lucky enough to drink lots of amazing bottles but my first taste of truly inspirational Argentinian wine is a memory that will never dim.
Masi Tupungato’s agents are Berkmann Wine Cellars. Tasting notes of their whole range will follow soon.