Bonarda... Argentina's Hidden Secret


When it comes to Argentina, Malbec is a must-stock wine on any restaurant list and most supermarket shelves. 

It’s the go-to grape variety for the upwardly mobile thirty-something who knows a little bit about wine.  It’s easy to drink, everyone seems to like it and it goes well with steak. In other words, it’s hit the mainstream.  

Now this is obviously something that Argentina must be proud of, foster and grow.  Malbec could well be the next Shiraz if it continues its impressive upward trajectory.  In anyone’s book, Argentina Malbec is a big success.

But what’s next?  How can producers convince drinkers that the country is not a one trick polo pony and extend ‘Brand Argentina’ beyond Malbec? Enter Bonarda.

Bonarda: the trend-setter’s go-to food and wine match

With its more rustic yet still fruity style, Bonarda is a hidden gem.  For that upwardly-mobile, early adopter, Malbec can only be cool for a certain amount of time before consumers want to explore new territories in the wine world.  Bonarda is the perfect fit.  

Here’s why….  

•    The fruit forward style is approachable and has broad appeal.
•    It’s affordable allowing repeat purchase and low-risk initial experimentation
•    Drinking chilled Bonarda offers added experience and point of difference for trend-setters
•    It’s easy to pronounce and remember – something that is often elusive in the wine world
•    It’s already hit the States where Argento Bonarda has a very successful listing in Wholefoods and the buyer describes it as ‘the next big thing’
•    It’s growing in popularity over here too - Bibendum have a wide range of on-trade listings from the up-market 4* Stoke Place Hotel to the Brazilian steakhouse Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill in Leeds and soon-to-open Liverpool

With the same juicy fruit that you find in Malbec but with the less polished edge that you might recognise from a bottle of Cotes-du Rhone, it’s the perfect next step in the wine journey.

Smokin’ Flavours

As a food and wine match, BBQ and Bonarda ticks a lot of boxes.  

Smoked or char grilled foods need a wine with plenty of fruit to balance the bold flavours; just enough tannins to take on the protein without being too dry; and crisp acidity to cut through the fat – and that describes Bonarda to a tee.

In the London on-trade, the BBQ and smoking trends are not going anywhere anytime soon.  A collection of stellar trendsetters have just set up a smoking meats pop up by Hackney Canal called Smokey Tails and Neil Rankin has opened Smokehouse, a pub/restaurant in Islington.

The retailers are also getting in on the act with Marks & Spencer introducing a range of smoked butters, salts and chocolate. Harvey Nichols has launched an oak-smoked water and vodka to their drinks range.

What happens in the on-trade soon filters through to domestic culinary experimentation for the middle-class foodie!  

Translating trends to the home environment

With BBQ experts Weber, the leading home BBQ company declaring that smoking is the top food trend for 2013, it seems the consumer is increasingly confident and happy to experiment with different cooking techniques at home and will therefore need a wine to perfect the ultimate foodie experience.

Cross-merchandising Bonarda with meats, equipment for the BBQ and recipe books such as Pitt Cue Co’s will be a great way that retailers can look to point the consumer in the right direction.

In addition, merchandising similar taste profiles together can be helpful.  The wine app, Plonk suggests Corvina, Frappato and Garnacha as similar wines to try in this flavour group.  With the popularity of Valpolicella (and hence Corvina), there are many ways to link the potential appeal of Bonarda.

So for autumnal smoking dishes, wintry hearty, grilled dishes and then chilled for spring/summer 2014, Bonarda’s just the ticket.

9th October 2014

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