Posts Tagged ‘Argentina’

Wine Review – 2009 Doña Paula Malbec Estate

How appropriate to recently receive a sample of Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina, from producer Doña Paula.
Its the two year anniversary of my trip there. (You can check out some pictures from the trip here. )

About Argentina

I have to admit, I had drifted away from Malbec. It seems to be going through a classic wine varietal popularity cycle I have observed over the years; as it gets increased popularity, volumes go up, prices rise, and quality is sometimes compromised; or worse, adapted to the New World Style of American Cabernet; where in your face, big oak, tannins and extraction is mistaken for complexity. I had a great, reasonably priced bottle last month that wasn’t thus, and vowed to try again. (This was also spurred by the new release of local Mounts Family Winery new Malbec, which is drinking really well.)

Argentine Wine Sales, led by Malbec, have skyrocketed, in a down economy, as this article shows. For their own benefit, I hope some of the pitfalls of above will be avoided…remember Merlot had its day too, and its decline wasn’t all from Sideways.

2009 sounds a bit early release for a bigger red like Malbec. It is a bit, but one must remember wine vintages in the other hemisphere are ahead of the US, thanks to the reversal of seasons; its sunny and warm right now there.

Wine Review

To the Eye: Deep violet,  purple color.

On the Nose: Bold red fruit, blackberry, hint of smoky wood

In The Mouth: Plum, black fruit, fruit forward. Tannins present but balanced. I was pleased the alcohol was a moderate (these days) 14%

Pairing: Hands down, a steak, like a Ribeye.

Where to Buy: Widely distributed.  ~$15 retail.

A safe bottle of wine that delivers an excellent QPR (quality price ratio.) It won’t give you a winegasm, but its a solid choice at <$20, and I’d happily drink it at a party or event.

It’s interesting to note that Doña Paula has a pretty wide array of other varietals. From reading, seems other Reviewers also recently received their new  Torrontes, a white wine varietal I discovered on my trip and often recommend as Argentina’s ‘other’ wine or sometimes called ‘white Malbec.’ I had expressed interest, but didn’t receive, perhaps next time.

They also demonstrate the expanding varietals being produced in Argentina now, including Viogner, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot, and Cabernet Franc. I have to confess I have tried little/none Argentine wine outside of the traditional Malbec and Torrontes, and will have to give a look see.

Recommendation: If you see a bottle, buy one for the holidays.


Wine Review – 2007 Bodega Elvira Calle “Ca’ de Calle” Gran Reserva Mendoza

Happy 2010 (twenty-ten) from Simple Hedonisms!

This wine rated a 90 points from Wine Spectator, and is from the Mendoza region of Argentina. (I toured there a year ago.)

  • Interesting blend of malbec, bonarda (yum), syrah, cab, merlot.
  • Beautiful brick red color.
  • Lush nose of berry. Plum, red fruit in mouth with clean finish.
  • 14% alcohol.
  • A great wine for only 12.99 on

Only 500 cases made, and a few in stock – pounce!

Wine Review – Tomero Torrontes

It’s another odd night in an odd week. (Board meeting today, new Chairman of the Board, next year’s growth target now could  be 300% Year over Year, not double – will the blog or I survive? :)) It’s definitely vino time!)

It’s an odd post, in that its another non Sonoma wine review, which represents 70%+  of what I buy. (Truth, it’s left from what I poured from the Xmas party I hosted tonight.)

I promise to start reviewing the many Sonoma wines I drink soon!  It’s also odd in that Torrontes is  a varietal I love from Argentina, but to whom this vintner I have given scathing remarks to in and K&L

I love Torrontes. I discovered it in my Christmas/New Years trip last year to Argentina as I journeyed around Uco Valley and Mendoza. Mendoza, Argentina wine tasting

It’s an interesting white varietal for a number of reasons, and one I think traditional red wine drinkers should look at.

Virtually unknown in North America until recently, the Argentines are now trying to promote this as THE white wine of Argentina, or the Sister of Malbec. It’s a varietal worth promoting. If you like Rhone white wines like Viognier, Rousanne, or Marsanne, you will like the floral nose, body, and  mouthfeel of a Torrontes. I am generally not a fan of ‘value’ wines but you are hard pressed to spend more than $15 for a Torrontes even if you want too, and they are an amazing value at $8-12.

The origins of Torrontes are still a bit of a mystery – it has genetic relatives, but its true origins are still not known. Torrontés is also a Spanish grape variety from Galicia, but its relationship to the Argentinian varieties is uncertain.

Last year I was on a tear to try every Torrontes K&L Wines had to offer. Twice I bought a 2008 Tomero Torrontes, (once K&L, once Bottle Barn) and then one night we tasted in a wine class at SRJC. All three experiences were bad, either suffering corkage or offering off flavors and odors. I was so mad the 3rd time I wrote in I wrote ” horrid representation of this normally amazing white Argentine varietal. A bit off on the nose and REALLY bad on the finish. It saddens me greatly this could be some ones intro to Torrontes – 70 points. (80 views)”

Likewise our instructor was not pleased. For some reason that escapes me, I ordered one more bottle. I guess 3rd (purchase) is a charm. (I should mention I have bought many bottles of others and this was my only negative experience.

FINALLY this captures the essence of Torrontes.tomero

Color: a very pale yellow color. Clear.

Aroma: characteristic floral nose. Pineapple. Hint of citrus.

In the Mouth: A plethora of fruit – peach, green apple, grapefuit. Excellent viscosity, mouthfeel, balance, with a mouth watering, acidic finish.

PLEASE drink these very lightly chilled. I am drinking mine at room temp of 65 degrees. The fragant nose and great mouthful are lost by the US habit of serving whites from the refrigerator at 45 degrees.

I welcome feedback if these wine reviews are useful, and if you’d like more, or any directional changes – a zillion blogs review wines – even though its part time for this one, I want this to be worth reading.


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