Friday, November 19, 2010
Argentina - on the rise
A straightforward post today about some new wines I've tasted from Argentina lately. Malbec is still king of course, although Torrontes is starting to become a more important variety. Overall, quality is improving, as the mentality among many producers has shifted from mass production to a more limited scope, based on smaller production. I hope we will soon see more varieties take hold in Argentina, as I believe they will need more than Malbec if they truly want to complete in the world market. Syrah, as evidenced by the Sietefincas bottling below, may be the answer.
2009 Finca Las Yeguas “Gozzo” Torrontes (Mendoza)
Light yellow with aromas of tangerine and golden apple. Medium-bodied, this has good freshness and acidity as well as elegance and drinkability. Good weight on the palate. Enjoy over the next 1-2 years. ($13)
2007 Secreto Patagonia Chardonnay (Patagonia)
Light yellow with pleasant aromas of ripe pear, apple and citrus. Medium-bodied, this has good persistence, lively acidity and even a light hint of minerality. Nicely styled for this price . Enjoy over the next 12-18 months. ($18)
2009 Tamari Torrontes Riserva (I.P. La Rioja)
Light yellow with enticing aromas of mandarin orange, jasmine and a hint of caneloupe. Medium-bodied, this has excellent freshness and balance with a flavorful finish with nice delicacy. A throughly enjoyable wine with very good complexity. Pair with Oriental cuisine, especially with shrimp. Enjoy over the next 12-15 months. ($15)
2008 Vasija Secreta “VAS” Torrontes (Valle de Cafayate)
While most examples of Torrontes are reminiscent of a fruit cocktail in their aromatics (and I mean that in a positive sense), this bottling offers much greater complexity. Straw color with aromas of dried yellow flowers, Bosc pear and spearmint. Medium-bodied with very good concentration. Beautiful texture, rich finish with very good persistence and lively acidity. Drinking beautifully now – enjoy over the next 2 years. This is as good and as multi-dimensional a Torrontes as I've ever tasted. Excellent ($22)
2008 Tercos Bonarda (Mendoza)
Although not planted in large numbers, Bonarda is being seen more often these days in Argentina; the grape was brought over to Argentina from Piedmont in northern Italy. Bright garnet, pleasing aromas of Queen Anne cherries and sage; medium-bodied with pleasing cherry fruit on the palate, soft tannins and tart acidity. An enjoyable quaffing red meant for lighter dishes (ideal with empanadas) - enjoy over the next 10-12 months. Nicely priced at $12.
2006 El Rosal Reserve Malbec (Mendoza)
Deep ruby red with aromas of red cherry, sage and turmeric. Medium-full with good concentration. Round tannins, balanced acidity and nicely integrated oak. Light herbal notes in the finish. Enjoy this subdued wine over the next 2-3 years. ($18)
2008 Sietefincas Malbec (Mendoza)
Deep ruby red with aromas of black plum, tar and menthol. Medium-bodied with good ripeness, moderate tannins, balanced acidity and pleasing black spice in the finish. There is subtle oak that tones down the ripe fruit and adds complexity and overall, this is a nicely balanced offering that is a step up from the numerous one-dimensional Malbecs in this price range. Enjoy over the next 1-2 years. ($16)
Las Piedras di Luis Pannunzio "Giovanni Vincenzo" Malbec 2008 (Mendoza)
There is a strong Italian influence with this wine, which is fitting as the winery was founded in 1952 by Giovanni Vincenzo Pannunzio, an Italian immigrant. Bright ruby red with aromas of blackberry, plum and tar. Medium-bodied with rich spice and nicely balanced tannins and notes of dried brown herbs in the finish. This is quite reminiscent of a young Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Enjoy over the next 1-2 years. Nice complexity for $17.
2006 El Porvenir "Amauta lll" (Cafayate Valley, Salta)
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Deep ruby red, aromas of black cherry, sage and oregano. Medium-full with good ripeness, rich tannins and a notable herbal finish with balanced acidity. This needs time to settle down and round out; best to pair this with grilled meats and game. Best in 3-5 years. ($22)
2008 Sietefincas Syrah (Mendoza)
Deep ruby red with aromas of sage, cinnamon and currant. Medium-bodied with very good concentration, this has an elegant entry on the palate. The finish offers very good persistence, bright acidity and subtle notes of dried orange peel, clove and Charismas spice. This is a beautifully made Syrah that goes for subtlety and finesse instead of taking the super ripe, powerhouse approach. If you prefer jammy Syrahs with deep purple color, look elsewhere – I’ll go for this style almost every time. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years, especially with lighter game, stews and aged cheeses. Lovely value at $16.