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Wine of the week

England might not seem to be the most promising place to seek out new wines--after all it barely even makes the stuff--but it is.

OK, OK...before I get swamped with protesting emails from the small but dedicated band of Brit wine makers, yes, England does have a wine industry,
albeit one so tiny it really doesn't count.


Now, back to my main point: It is just because Britain drinks so much wine, yet makes none of its own, that it is such a fertile hunting ground for new wines from such unlikely and viniferously obscure places as Argentina or Australia.

Australia? Obscure? Well, not today, but twenty years ago it was, at least in terms of wine, and it was then that I first discovered, in a London wine bar, just how good Oz wines could be, long, long before they began to appear on American shores.

Then last summer I had a similar experience when I was served the Cavas de Weinert 1999, an Argentinean red, at a London dinner party.

Argentinean wines have a pretty bad rap, so in order to crack the highly competitive international market they have to be good, and sell at a decent price too.
The Cavas de Weinert scores on both counts.

It has a clean, fresh fruit nose and a bright ruby color. Tannic when first poured, it had opened up beautifully an hour later, the tannins softening most agreeably.
It's almost like a Bordeaux...but not quite.
There's a peppery element that you don't find in clarets, probably from the Malbec, and this adds a whole extra dimension to the flavor.

This is emphatically a food wine, not an aperitif, and it enhanced, and was immeasurably enhanced by, the claves liver and pancetta I drank it with.
It is one of those wines you hide the label of and invite your guests to identify and guess how much it cost, then surprise them by whipping off the napkin to reveal its humble origins.

If it continues to produce wines this good, and at this price, Argentina could well prove to be the next big wine thing.
The next big wine thing first discovered in England.

Forbes Fact

Since it was first produced in 1977, Cavas de Weinert has been the premier wine of Bodegas y Cavas de Weinert, one of Argentina's leading winemakers.
Located in Lujan de Cuyo, which is the Argentine equivalent of Bordeaux or Napa Valley, the winery was founded by Bernardo C. Weinert, a Brazilian who made a fortune in the transportation industry.

When To Drink:

Now, and for the next few years

Breathing/Decanting:

One hour breathing

Grapes:

Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Malbec 35% and Merlot 15%

Region:

Mendoza

Country:

Argentina

Price:

$19

Availability:

Moderate

Web Site:

www.bodegaweinert.com