I don’t often target Argentine whites, and this lovely bottle from M&S had me thinking that maybe I should.
Hailing from Cuyo – the wine-producing mountainous region in central West of Argentina – this elegant blend combines the noble Chardonnay with the slightly-less-noble-but-don’t-hold-that-against-it Chenin Blanc.
Chenin Blanc is a funny one for me. Sort of like Semillon, I often enjoy it in blends but rarely enough sample it on its own, so am unsure quite what to expect from it each time I come across it. The juicy, tropical flavours I’d expect from a New World Chardonnay were there in M&S’s Rincon del Sol. But so was a zesty, refreshing minerality. The overall effect is something like a mid-point between the warm-climate Chardonnays I love and the leaner mineral-rich Burgundian Chablis.
A quick read of Wikipedia reveals that wine-boff Jancis Robinson hails Chenin Blanc for its “versatility”. Never an easy taste to spot, that one. One suspects the Argentine approach to viticulture might have followed the European model in this case, as the tastes described in New World Chenins seem closer to the taste I’d expect (and I thought I tasted here) from New World Chardonnay.
One imagines the blend element would require two contrasting elements to make it worth their while – but then, if there’s nothing to be gained from combining two identical tastes, what’s to be lost?
I enjoyed this wine immensely, despite its attempts to confuse me.
The main reason I bought it is because it was cheap (£4.99!) but it tasted like twice its worth in cash, so I make that a bargain. It almost makes up for me dropping the last bottle of white wine I bought in the M&S car park…