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Penultimate wines of Proemio Review - Argentina’s Ascendancy as a Wine Producer

By morton hochstein

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On my first visit to Argentina many presidents ago, I was unimpressed. The wines were hardly civilized, basically unpalatable, and best kept out of sight.  The closest to a good wine was a Champagne (the French hadn’t yet banned use of that title except for native Galllic growers) and that was a sparkler which would not have earned friends other than in Argentina, certainly not in France.



Oh my, how things have changed. I’ve made a few visits since that primitive time. Money and investors, native and international, made a difference. Wild fields and great heights have been challenged and conquered, trained enologists and viticulturalists have stepped in, armed with well-funded modern technology to produce enjoyable and, in many cases, noteworthy wines.



Malbec is the flagship varietal, one which seems perfectly adapted to the Argentine climate and terroir. It has flourished in the land of the gaucho with even more success than in its native France. Like Chile, the first of the South American nations to experience a wine boom, Argentina now delivers a wide-ranging lineup of wines, from the familiar to the unusual.  Its winemakers have in many cases recognized the potential of grapes that might have gone into their cheapest wines for domestic consumption and sculpted them to please more sophisticated consumers at home and abroad.


Malbec 2014

Proemio is one of the smaller Argentine producers now battling to expand their markets.  It’s relatively new, having been established by Marcelo Bocardo, a third-generation winemaker, from a family of immigrant Italian vignerons, in just 2001. The name Proemio can be interpreted as first page or in present day terminology, kick start.


Marcelo Bocardo

It’s a true family winery and at a recent tasting, Bocardo praised his family and close associates for their efforts in cultivating sources at diverse vineyards with differing soils and climate conditions.


Bocardo, almost uniquely in current wine pricing, has set a goal of producing wines that do not threaten the pocketbook. His basic wine, a 100% Malbec, can be found in many stores for about $11. It’s a rich, dark cherry flavored beauty and not to be missed, particularly at that price.  He also markets a Cabernet Sauvignon   averaging about $13, and this, too, is a real find.


A few ticks upward, his basic reserve wines   retail at about $20. The    Malbec, lush with chocolate and cherry on the palate and the Reserve Cabernet, show the benefits of aging for one year on French oak.


Cabernet 2014

With his Grand Reserva, Bocardo melds 50% Malbec, 40% Merlot, and equal parts of Syrah and Garnacha into a well-balanced, more elegant blend tasting of plum and chocolate, with a lingering finish. Average retail price is $30.


Icon sits at the top of the Premio ladder. Like the Grand Reserva, it aged slowly for a year and a half in French oak, emerging as a rich, deeply chocolate toned favorite.  A blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah and 10% Merlot, it can be found in the $60 price range.


Vicard Barrels

Although giant, deep-pocketed producers now dominate the Argentine wine scene, smaller producers like Bocardo add to its lustre.


Photos: Courtesy of Proemio Winery

Proemio Wines website

Published on Dec 08, 2016

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