Tag Archives: argentina

A great Malbec, if…

27 Oct

20111027-004317.jpgHumberto Canale Estate Malbec 2008
Alto Valle del Río Negro, Patagonia, Argentina

So, this is a new (to me) Malbec from the most southerly wine-growing region in Argentina. Patagonia lies more than 990 miles (1600 kms) south of the much more famous Mendoza and is a considerably cooler climate than the major regions to the north. In the early 20th century, Humberto Canale imported vine cuttings from Bordeaux and established the first commercial winery in the region^.

I found myself with a bottle of Humberto Canale Estate Malbec 2008 from that most southerly region and wondered about how it might differ from wines from its northern Argentine neighbours. When I finally got around to opening it, I found a complex, nuanced wine with blackberry, cocoa, mint, smoked meat, and a host of other intriguing flavours. The profile and structure reminds me more of premium high-altitude Mendoza wines than the ubiquitous fleshy, sweet-fruit reds that currently flood our wine shops. So, is this a great-value wine? Good question, as I no longer have pricing info. I’ll get back to you on that, but for now, I will say that this is either an excellent sub-$20 wine or a less-exciting buy, it’s value inversely related to price.

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Lingerings of VPIWF: More Malbec wines you should try

24 May

Malbec: VPIWF left me somewhat smitten with the grape.

Malbec, also known as Auxerrois, Côt, and about 1,000 other synonyms, is a black grape variety that tends to produce inky, violet-black, tannic wines. The thick-skinned variety traditionally used to add colour and tannic structure to Bordeuax wines has found a home in Mendoza, Argentina, where it is used for everything from rosé wine, to simple, mass-produced red table wine to supremely rich and concentrated luxury wines of world-class calibre.

The main aromas of Malbec include cherry, raspberry and plum, dried fruits, blue flowers like violets, coffee and chocolate, leather and balsamic. Ageing in oak contributes vanilla aromas and flavours.

Doña Paula ‘Paula’ Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina $16.99
Lighter-bodied than expected. Varietally correct nose of plum, dark berries, violets, tar and spice.  Satisfying fruit, well-balanced acid & tannins. Excellent value.

Bleasdale Second Innings Malbec 2007, Langhorne Creek, Australia $17.99
Expected a full-force plush Aussie fruit bomb, but this wine is actually quite elegant and well-structured for the price. A food wine, to be sure, with acid and tannin for red meat and subtle Langhorne-esque herbal notes.Bodega Sottano Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina $19.99
Big nose on this one: all the requisite dark berries and fruits, plus licorice, root beer, tar, violets, earth and cracked pepper, all of it distinct and concentrated, but perfectly balanced.  The fruit is mouth-filling, the tannins soft and long, and the acidity provides just enough zing to invite the next sip. Serious Malbec for $20.

Luis Felipe Edwards Family Reserve Malbec 2008, Colchagua, Chile $19.99
The lone Chilean offering stands up to the Argentine competitors without denying its origins.  Chile’s Malbec wines offer fruit, spice and aromatics in a leaner, meaner package. The LFE Family Reserve has an intense, Cabernet-like nose of dark fruits, brambleberry tart, black currant black licorice, tar, toffee, mint, dill and subtle floral notes. The palate is a super-concentrated melange of sticky-sweet fruits like blackberry preserve, a bright berry acidity on the mid-palate and grippy bittersweet chocolate tannins on the finish. Dispite its weight and dense black fruits it remains more austere, less ‘obvious’ than most Malbecs. One step left from Argentina on the Old World:New World spectrum. *My value-for-money pick. I’ll buy this again!

Finca Decero Remolina Vineyard Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina $25.99
Talk about “Old World meets New World”, this is one solid Malbec that shows its feminine side with swirling floral notes and lifted aromatics.  The structure is sound, yet delicate; the fruit big, yet soft. From a young vineyard (Decero means “from scratch”) high in Mendoza, this producer shows real promise.

Mapema Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina $26.99
After 34 years as chief winemaker at Catena, Jose “Pepe” Gallante is now making world-class (and well-priced) Malbec for his new venture “Mapema”. The high altitude, fresh air and intense sun of the vineyard in Consulta, Mendoza have contributed to the formation of a profound Malbec.  Twelve months in new French oak has produced a wine with aromas of black cherry, combined harmoniously with fine notes of chocolate and tobacco, a rich fruit character, and smooth tannins.

Reviewed: Catena Alta Chardonnay (2007)

23 Apr

Catena Alta is the benchmark for premium Argentine Chardonnay

Bodega Catena Zapata
Catena Alta Chardonnay 2007

Mendoza, Argentina
14% alcohol/volume
$44.99 at Everything Wine (not available at BCLS)

Sourced from Adrianna vineyard at 5,000′ (the highest in all of Mendoza) and a small portion from Domingo at 3,700′, Catena Zapata’s Alta Chardonnay is the benchmark for premium Chardonnay from Argentina.  100% barrel fermented, with 50% new French, and aged sur lie for 12 months.

This wine is remarkable from start to finish, beginning with an aromatic  and complex nose of pear and apricot, almond and lemon cream.  Subtle hints of white flowers and warm, smoky notes follow.  The palate is full and concentrated, with citrus, honey, vanilla, nutmeg and toast. The wine has a wonderful viscosity, mouth coating and pleasantly creamy, but with an exciting streak of minerally acidity that leaves me wanting more.

This wine is everything I love in Chardonnay and is near-perfect now.  Still, it shows much potential, and will reward careful ageing until 2014 at least.  At $45 CAD it’s not for everyday quaffing, but compares very favourably with other Chardonnay wines around the $50 mark, from any region.

see also: Catena Rules Argentine Chardonnay from Stephen Tanzer’s Winophilia.

#VPIWF: The 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival in Tweets

21 Apr

How much has the (Vancouver) wine world really embraced twitter? This post is a bit of an experiment in the matter, and depends wholly on Twitter users for the quality of its content.

I’ve added a new feed (right sidebar) so you can follow along in real-time with all the action of the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival (#VPIWF), courtesy Vancouver’s most hardcore wine-geek tweeps.

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Please note, this post is a WIP: I will compile interesting tweets from various VPIWF events in this post as the festivities continue.

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» Diva(s) at the Met

What happens when a group of women get together? They talk wine, of course! Host Daenna Van Mulligen (aka Wine Diva) will introduce you to an international group of winemakers, proprietors and industry principals, who will share not only the wines they represent, but also the stories of their journey as a woman in the grape trade. After, schmooze and enjoy a selection of small bites prepared to match each wine by Diva at the Met Chef Dino Renaerts. Diva(s) at the Met

TheWineDiva Trying to get to my Divas at the Met event #vpiwf but the 4/20 pot protest has shut down traffic- great- come early. You’ll be stuck too

rtay Heading to the Metropolitan Hotel for Diva(s) at the Met, my first official @PlayhouseWine fest event of what will be a very boozy week.

lfroese Food porn: canapes from Divas at the Met MMMMMMMMM #vpiwf #wine @thewinediva http://tweetphoto.com/19277394

TheWineDiva Divas at the Met 2010 has wrapped. Inspiring women, stories and wine. I am awed-thanks to all you wine divas out there!! #vpiwf

» Canadian Wine Summit as interpreted by @yaffler

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is pleased to announce a very special dialogue about Canadian wine issues as part of the Trade Days Conference.  What is Wine Brand Canada?   Is it Icewine internationally?  How does Cellared in Canada fit in?  How relevant are issues regarding sustainability?

Master Sommelier John Szabo moderates the morning, in-camera Strategy Session (9:30 – 11:30 am) featuring presentations by Mike Weir Wine, Tinhorn Creek, LCBO, Vincor, Brock University, Flat Rock Cellars, Andrew Peller and Mark Anthony Brands. The Canadian Wine Summit

Yaffler Interesting perspectives in this morning’s Canadian Wine Summit. Although As in all things, the big producers dominated proceedings #VPIWF

Yaffler Purpose of this morning’s Canadian Wine Summit: define winebrand Canada. Initial ideas: focus on diversity & sustainability. #VPIWF

Yaffler But before understanding & defining winebrand Canada, should everyone agree on just what it means to be Canadian in a general sense #VPIWF

Yaffler Key Canadian #wine asset is wine tourism. Vital to building the brand & creating emotional ties #VPIWF

Yaffler The big 3 want cooperation in building winebrand Canada. But only on their terms… #VPIWF Continue reading

An $1,100 Flight to Flavour Country

19 Nov

my first Grange!

While I wasn’t lucky enough to enjoy the wisdom of host Chris Sharpe, working late last night did result in the reward of sampling the heels of the wines from his Ultra Premium Tasting.  If you happen to have $1,100 you need to dispose of, these five wines will do the trick nicely. All are available at Everything Wine and prices listed are current retail.

Quinta do Vale Meao 2005
Douro, Portugal

Touriga Nacional (40%), Touriga Franca (25%), Tinta Roriz (25%)

This wine’s nose is charming and gorgeous, with concentrated ripe red berries, pretty floral notes, earth and tar.  The palate is bright and lush, with red raspberry, sweet cherry and peppery spice. Complex, exotic and hugely appealing, I would gladly drink this wine daily – and with just about any fare. This doesn’t strike me as a wine that would fare well in the cellar, but with luscious fruit like this, who wants to wait anyway? $109.99

~

Achaval Ferrer Finca Mirador 2006
Medrano, Mendoza, Argentina
Malbec (100%)

From a 12 acre vineyard at 2400′ asl harvested to 0.75 tons per acre. The colour and aroma seemed to indicate a wine with some maturity, with it’s slightly brick-hued rim and subtle earth scents.  That illusion was soon shattered, as the palate bursted with bright red and black fruits, fresh and ripe with mouthwatering acidity.  Suprising, but delicious nonetheless.  I’d definitely leave this one in the cellar another half-dozen years. $119.99

~

Numanthia Termanthia 2005
Toro, Spain
Tinto de Toro (100%)

From an 11 acre plot, 2600 feet above sea level, planted with 100+ year old ungrafted vines, the yields were well under 1 ton of fruit per acre. The wine was barrel fermented and received the ‘200% new oak’ treatment for 20 months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It is big, tannic and extremely ageworthy. ~ erobertparker.com

A wonderfully complex nose, with layers of black cherry, sweet cassis, blackberry, caramel, licorice, mineral, toast and tar.  I went back two or three times to take it all in before taking a sip.  When I did, I received a powerul mouthful of rich black fruits, baking spices and a mess of fine tannins. Structured enough for a decade or more of cellaring, but a wonderfully unique and enjoyable wine now. Maybe the best Tempranillo I have tasted. Fantastic. $259.99

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Shafer Hillside Select 2004
Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
Cabernet Sauvignon (100%)

Incredibly rich, from the sweet cassis and vanilla-oak nose to the silky mouthfeel and super-long and textured finish.  The Hillside exhibits opulent black cherry, chocolate, graphite and oak.  32 months in 100% new French oak lends a silky, sexy, layered palate and a flawless finish. This wine is beautifully intense – one of the most pleasurable sips I’ve had in a long, long while. $325.99

~

Penfolds Grange Bin 95 2004
South Australia
Shiraz (96%), Cabernet Sauvignon (4%)

…grown to very special vineyards in the Barossa and McLaren Vale, with a component from the distinguished Magill Estate site in the Adealide Hills. Grange remains as Australia’s most famous wine, a peerless wine of historical significance, officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Above-average winter rainfall led into a promising vintage, characterised by mild conditions up until February, followed by warmer weather conditions throughout March and April. Penfolds South Australian vineyards fared well, producing wines of elegance and intensity. Matured for sixteen months in exclusively new American oak hogsheads. Alcohol 14.3% ~ PenfoldsGrangeForSale.com

My first Grange!  Tauted as one of the greatest vintages of Australia’s most prestigious wine, the 2004 Grange might never have had a chance at living up to its $600AUD pre-release price. Concentrated ripe black fruits, cherry cola, smoked meat. The palate is very concentrated, but still bright.  I expected more – more tannin, more acid, more fruit, more alcohol.  But this wine is not for drinking now – it is all about 10 years from now. $424.99

Wine and Food Pairing: Sushi

9 Jun

from: http://www.everythingwine.ca/blog

Three words best describe summer dining: light, fresh, and delicious. For me, nothing satisfies these criteria better than a casual lunch on the patio of my favourite local sushi joint. After a quick glance at the menu, I’ve decided on an assortment of nigiri sushi and cucumber rolls. But the question remains: what to wash it down with?

read more of my first blog post for EW!

congrats on the retirement, dave. enjoy!

4 Jun

cristia renaissanceanaperennaalpha syrah

Big congratulations to Dave on his recent retirement.  I was more than happy to help put together a package for him.  Now I’m terribly envious of his personal wine library! This is a killer group of wines that can be enjoyed for the next decade and beyond.  Keep reading for details on Dave’s 12 new friends.

Cheers, Dave!

Continue reading

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 4}

20 Feb
domaine-gauby-roussillion

in this issue: Domaine Gauby Cotes du Rousillon Rouges 2006 - 90 points

download issue 4.pdf

Issue four is the biggest vino valore yet, with seven great wines reviewed and a report from the first IVSA tasting of the new year. Cheers!

~Joe Corkscrew

download issue 4.pdf


V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 3}

6 Feb

luna-cropIt’s the dead of winter and the middle of a global recession, so I’ve reviewed a handful of great-value wines made from grapes that might be new to you. Spice things up this February (without maxing the plastic) with a tasty Mencía or Cortese. And while you’re at it, pick up a little something for the sweetheart – Valentine’s Day is next week! I can help: issue three of vino valore is here!

download issue 3.pdf

* * * * *

in this issue, discover little-known grape varieties like:

Pedro Jimenez

Cortese

Mencia

…and more!

download issue 3.pdf

more reviews and exclusive articles here

email joe: vinovalore@gmail.com

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 2}

23 Jan

misterio2Your holiday-party hangover has dissipated, but your holiday-spending hangover likely has not, so in this issue I reveal more great-value wines that will satisfy your tastebuds and your budget. Bigger and better, with more wines and more great buys – welcome to issue 2 of vino valore!
download issue 2.pdf

* * * * *
in this issue:
Fontana Misterio Roble, Ucles, Spain
Viña Alarba Viñas Viejas Garnacha, Calatayud, Spain
Don Domenico Baires Cabernet Malbec, San Juan, Argentina
Casa Santos Lima Amoras Tinto, Estremadura, Portugal
and more!

download issue 2.pdf

more reviews and exclusive articles here

email joe: vinovalore@gmail.com