A Couple Of Superb Reds from Argentina and Austria

A Couple Of Superb Reds from Argentina and Austria


Susana Balbo Crios Malbec Mendoza 2018, 14%, €16.75 Wines Direct

The aromas, warm, moderately spicy and massively welcoming, are the stand-out feature of this dark-red/purple Malbec from Mendoza, crafted by Susana Balbo, one of the best known wine people in Argentina. It is warm too on the palate, full of sweet red fruit flavours (plum and blackcurrant), again that spice, dark and delicious, and a terrific harmonious finish as well. Very Highly Recommended. 

Importers Wines Direct recommend pairing it with Pasta and Pizza, Game, Beef and Lamb. The vineyard tell us that it has spent 9 months in 100 % French oak, and they put Tuna steak, lamb, hamburgers on their matching shortlist. 

The Crios series of wines is aimed at connecting with “young, adventurous wine drinkers looking for unique varietals and regions, as well as with those seeking reliable, quality wines that fit their budget”. Reckon a lot of the recent “cocooners” would have a keen interest here as well.

Susana Balbo, the first female enologist in Argentina after graduating with honours from Don Bosco University in Mendoza in 1981, is an Argentinean game changer “of incredible skill and experience” according to Wines of South America. She is regularly hired as a consultant abroad and has made wine in Australia, California, Chile, France, Italy, South Africa and Spain. Dominio del Plata, her own label, is among the country’s most successful, with her Malbec and Crios Torrontes its signature wines.

Wellanschitz Neckenmarkt Zweigelt Klassik (Burgenland, Austria) 2016, 13%, €17.75 Wines Direct


The Zweigelt grape is a brilliantly hardy grape that is well suited to the Austrian climate and it is the most widely planted red grape there. It was created in 1922 from a crossing between Saint-Laurent and Blaufrankisch. According to Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, the terroir here is ideal for the red grape: In this landscape, which is not unlike the M├ędoc, red grapes ripen reliably every year.

Colour is a dark ruby. Attractive bouquet of ripe dark berries. Medium bodied, it is juicy, fruity (blackberries, cherries, raspberries) and nicely spicy on the palate, very fresh too with engaging medium acidity and a long dry finish, tannins integrated. Highly Recommended.

Should be perfect with the foods suggested by importers Wines Direct: spicy food, soft cheese, pork and poultry, beef and lamb. Serve at 14-16 degrees. Note also that it is vegan friendly.

This classic Zweigelt was fermented spontaneously in stainless steel and then traditionally matured in large wooden barrels. “The work of the winemaker is full of humility and awe. Any manipulation, falsification or acquisition, which would alter the cultural asset of the wine are prohibited at Wellanschitz vineyards.” This is the real thing from the Austrian wine-maker.

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