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Published:  23 July, 2008

In a move that should give heart to the beleaguered Argentine wine industry, two Spanish-speaking aristocrats have announced details of an ambitious joint venture in previously unfancied eastern Mendoza. The new company, jointly owned by Mendoza's Duque de Palmira (right) and La Mancha's Marqus de Gruon, aims to be one of the country's leading exporters within five years. Sourced from young plantings at the historic 3,000 hectare (ha) Finca Palmira estate, the Duque de Palmira wines have already attracted rave reviews in Argentina, where Raul Chiste, wine critic of Los Andes, has described Sancho', the venture's icon brand, as Argentina's answer to Chteau Latour.' In a blind tasting of the top red wines of Chile and Argentina, conducted for the April issue of Master Wine magazine, Sancho was the clear winner. The estate will produce an entry-point, unoaked Malbec called Rocinante' (the name of Don Quixote's horse), retailing at 3.99, and small quantities of Sancho (the knight's faithful sidekick). We were planning to sell Sancho at 29.99,' the Duque de Palmira told Harpers, but with the recent devaluation of the peso, we've decided to drop the price to a more realistic 5.99. We're not interested in tilting at windmills here.' The wines will be launched at the LIWSF in May.