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Salentein hopes to win over independents with new premium Argentinian wine range

Published:  23 September, 2014

Salentein, the Argentinian wine producer, is to release a new premium range of wines to the UK including it icon wine, Gran Vu Blend, which it hopes to gain distribution across the on-trade and independent sectors.

The new premium range is made up of wines from Salentein's three estates across Argentina's Uco Valley, where it is able to release wines blended from grapes grown at different altitudes between 1,000m and 1,700m.

Salentein has currently gained distribution for its wines in the London and mainstream on-trade through Matthew Clark and has gained several good selling listings with Majestic - for its El Portillo, Callia Bello and Killka brands - but this will be its first concentrated effort to build its presence in the premium on and off-trade independent sectors.

Chief winemaker, José Galante, believes the wines have the fruit, the freshness and the acidity to really make a mark for themselves not only in the UK, but in all it key export markets like the Netherlands, Germany, the US, Brazil and Central America.

"The Uco Valley is the best region to make wine in Argentina," claimed Galante, who before joining Salentein in 2011 had spent nearly 30 years as winemaker at Catena and is regarded as one of Argentina's most influential winemakers. "All the major investments in wine are now taking place in the Uco Valley and it has been transformed over the last 15 years when it was just a desert."

By working with vines at different levels, be it 1,000m, 1,200m or 1,600m, not only does Salentein have different styles of grapes to choose from and blend, but by picking at different times it can add so much more diversity to its winemaking, said Galante. "It gives us grapes with different characteristics."

The new premium Salentein range will retail for between £15 right up to £60-£65 for its Grand Vu "Valle de Uco" Blend. Grand Vu is a blend of 73% Malbec and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and is the first time that Salentein's Dutch founder and owner, Myndert Pon, agreed to have his signature on the label. Pon sadly died in July and will not go on to see the wine on sale.

Galante said Grand Vu is the culmination of many years looking for the best areas, particularly for Malbec, and vinification methods to create its icon wine. "This wine in the pinnacle of work and research in our quest to understand the terroir and produce the best wines in Argentina," he said. "The Grand Vu Blend is what I consider to be the best representation of the Valle de Uco and Argentinian wines."

It will include sub-brands, Primus, Numina and and a number of different numbered Plot wines grown from specific vineyards. It will also include Salentein's first Cabernet Franc wine, which Galante believes is a grape variety ideally suited to the Uco Valley.

The Uco Valley also represents Argentina's best opportunity to produce world standard white wines and Galante is particularly pleased with the Chardonnay varieties, both Primus and Plot, which he has produced as part of it new premium range. "It has good natural acidity and freshness which gives us the balance, finesse and elegance we want," he explained. "This is the future of Chardonnay in Argentina."

Equally he points to the Primus Pinot Noir 2011 in the range as producing fruit with the necessary "acidity and flavour that is impossible to achieve in another region".