(by peter)

Last night, after we’d put the toddler to bed, Susie and I tasted a couple of reds from Argentina.

Monday is our habitual “wagon” night. We often do tastings then and are happy to leave the wines on the side until the next day. This time, the fact I was sorely tempted to try them with supper tells you that they went down pretty well.

The wines in question were from the new Argentine venture, Carinae. We’d been given them by Simon Taylor at Stone, Vine & Sun, our local Winchester merchant, to try as part of a book project I’m working on. Creditably, he’d warned us they might be a bit big and rich for our tastes. But my take on them was different – while they might be packing alcohol levels (over 14%) that would make you think twice about consuming in quantity, they had a freshness and lift to them that was very appealing indeed.

This is just the kind of style Argentina needs more of: drinkable yet complex wines.

Carinae Malbec Reserva 2007, 14% – £9.95

Creamy damson and cherry fruit, some leafy and licorice notes. Not the most expressive, but neither is it too ripe or sickly. Some dried fruit and herbs. On the palate, it’s juicy and grippy, with an elegant woody depth to it. Emphasis is firmly on juicy freshness. Touch of floral lift. Not the most complex or refined but fine, interesting and moreish. (Susie thought it a bit high in alcohol though with nice chalky tannin and savoury notes.) 6/10

Carinae Prestige Tinto 2006, 14.5% – £21 (73% Malbec, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Syrah)

Floral, damson, cream aromas. Again, almost hedgerow, Pinot Noir-esque quality to the nose. Not over-oaked. Inviting. Mouthfeel is smooth and layered with a dense, crunchy core. Juicy, creamy, deftly assembled. Very fine tannin and good length. Young – will improve until 2015. Very good. 7/10