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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

Argentina and Riesling - the perennial under-achievers of the wine world - have been given a boost by a recent Safeway's range review. Argentina saw 12 new wines added to the Safeway range, which, surprisingly, now includes super-premium wines such as 2000 Zuccardi Q' Malbec (9.99, 160 stores) and 2000 Norton Privada (9.99, 276 stores). Wine buyer Tim Ranscombe said: We went to Argentina recently and were really excited about what we saw there. Although there has been a decline in sales for the Argentina category over the past few years I feel the time is right for it to go back into growth, especially now producers have a good vintage [2002] under their belt. We also expanded the range at the higher price points, as the old range stopped at 5.99.' Attempts by Chilean producers to boost their country's exposure above the 5 mark also seem to have paid off, with eight wines above that price now listed by Safeway, including 1999 Concha y Toro, Don Melchor (15.99, 75 stores). Seven new Rieslings have also been added to Safeway's offering - four from Australia, one from Germany, one from Austria and one from Chile. Ranscombe said that if this is to be the long-awaited year that Riesling breaks through as a big player in varietally-labelled wines, it will be the New World (particularly Australia) that will attract the consumer to Riesling. Younger consumers are much more likely to experiment with New World wines,' he said. Both Somerfield and Tesco have recently announced that they are also expanding their range of Rieslings.