Lost Vineyards Shiraz-Cab

It looks as if this inexpensive Argentinian red blend is made by the folks at Trapiche and imported by Lost Vineyards.  It’s interesting that the appellation they give is just Argentina.  Of course, that is a bit more concrete than some wines I’ve seen that say they are “American.”  That always makes me want to ask, “North American, South American or all of the above?”  But getting back to the wine at hand, the label clearly indicates that it is a mixture of 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winemaker:  Lost Vineyards
Varietal:  Red Blend
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Argentina
Price:  $4.99

Notes:  This wine showed a deep ruby color in the glass.  On the nose I found dark cherry along with hints of spices and herbs.  It was a light-bodied red with moderate tannins.  Alcohol is at 12.5%.  On the palate this blend brought me sweet dark cherry, pepper, clove, oak, and anise.  Sounds good, right?  But here’s the catch: it wasn’t a well-balanced glass of wine.  The oak and the tannins were the major players on the tongue and relegated the other flavors to the background.  Except for the sweetness!  The residual sugar had a tendency to come on a little strong.  The result was a strange back-and-forth on the palate between astringent wood and sweet.  Again, the other flavors were there but fighting a losing battle for my tastebuds’ attention.  Maybe I should have had a hunk of spiced meat with this Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, and all would have been well.  Unfortunately, I didn’t.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Rex-Goliath Moscato (c. 2013)

It seems to me that Moscato/Muscat wines have recently enjoyed a surge in popularity in the United States.  I’m not claiming this is an absolute fact based on market data.  This is an anecdotal observation based on what I have seen in my local stores.  Even so, the fact that Rex-Goliath has recently added Moscato to their line-up – this one imported from Argentina – may lend some credence to my opinion.  Since it was new to me and new to the market at large, I thought I’d give it a try.

Winemaker:  Rex-Goliath
Varietal:  Moscato
Wine:  Moscato Argentina
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Argentina
Price:  $8.99

Notes:  This is not a shy, restrained Moscato by any means.  Perhaps the only thing light about this wine is it’s color, which is a pale chartreuse in the glass.  On the nose I smelled lavish scents of honey and peach with floral notes.  Acidity was moderately high, lending the wine a very light effervescence when it hit the tongue.  It was a medium-bodied white with plenty of viscosity.  Flavors I perceived included an intense core of sweet dried apricot, some star fruit, floral notes, white pepper, and grass.  The dried apricot revisits on the long finish.  I was surprised to see that alcohol is at 11.5% because it definitely comes across as a sweet wine.  For me this wine would be too sweet and substantive for an apéritif.  I’d serve this as a dessert wine with fresh berries or perhaps a lightly sweet nutty cookie – hazelnut or almond.  This Moscato is a little ham-fisted, but that’s OK.  Sometimes you want subtlety and complexity.  Other times you just want a flavorful beverage to cap off a hearty meal.  This wine fits in the latter category.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Gouguenheim Malbec 2011

Argentinian Malbec at a steak house?  Not a bad idea at all!  The other night I went to hear a friend and his group play live at a restaurant called The Golden Bull.  As I had gone straight there from work, I obviously needed to eat – and drink.  So I ordered their Chicken Marsala and a glass of this wine.

Winemaker:  Gouguenheim
Varietal:  Malbec
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Valle Escondido, Mendoza, Argentina
Price:  $11.99

Notes:  This Gouguenheim Malbec was a deep, rich garnet in the glass.  I found scents of berries and oak in the bouquet.  It was a softer Malbec, which made it a pretty decent beverage to pair with the Chicken Marsala.  Tannins were quite gentle, and acidity seemed low.  It had a lightly silky feel on the tongue.  Flavors I tasted included hearty helpings of black currant, dark plum, pepper, and a biting woodiness.  Alcohol is listed on the label as 13.5%.  On the whole, I thought it was fine.  Not a “fine wine” in that sense of the word.  And, if I’d had my ‘druthers, this Malbec would have had more structure.  I definitely don’t think this would have been a good match for the steaks on the menu.  I was also disappointed to find sediment in the bottom of my glass.  That happens sometimes, of course.  So, for me, this was a totally OK wine experience.  By the way, my friend and his band did a great job entertaining the diners at The Golden Bull.  And that’s no bull!

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Alamos Malbec 2012

Well, to be completely transparent, I actually purchased this bottle elsewhere and then found it at TJ’s.  As it IS on their shelves, I’m going to reflect that here.

Malbec? I can still remember the first Malbec I ever tasted.  It was … it was, um … a “number” of years ago.  I was in a restaurant in the Phoenix area.  Don’t remember the name of the establishment, but they served nouveau Southwest style cuisine and had several Malbecs on their wine list.    I took the plunge and was pleased with the experience.

Winemaker:  Alamos
Varietal:  Malbec
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Mendoza, Argentina
Price:  $9.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  This Malbec made by the Catena family in Vista Flores, Tunuyán, Mendoza, Argentina is not as dark in its flavor profile as the one I had in Phoenix.  That isn’t a criticism at all; it’s just a fact.  In the glass, the Alamos is a dark, inky purple.  On the nose I caught scents of cherry, plum and earth.  It is a medium-to-light-bodied wine (on the cusp, I’d say).  Flavors for me were dark cherry, spiced plum, moss, light hints of coffee bean, and a touch of cough syrup on the finish.  Acidity seemed fine, and alcohol is at 13.7%.   It’s pleasant, very easy to drink, and gentle on the palate.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

La Finca Tempranillo 2012

Drinking cheap wine has it’s ups and downs.  There was a time I didn’t think anything below $5 was worth even trying, and I didn’t expect to really love a wine that wasn’t over say $20.  But I know better now.  And I’m surprised again and again at how many very OK wines are below $10 and some even sub $5.  Thus, I gave this Tempranillo from Finca La Celia a try.

Winemaker:  Finca La Celia
Wine:  La Finca Tempranillo
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Mendoza, Argentina
Price:  $3.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  I found this inexpensive Tempranillo very thin-bodied.  It has a pretty garnet color in the glass.  Alcohol is at 13%.  On the nose was dark fruit and menthol.  This wine takes a long time to breathe during which there is very little fruit flavor.  Once I got some oxidation going, it presented dark berry and plum, menthol, very light notes of spice and occasionally brief hints of a porty-raisin taste on the finish.  Despite that, the main thrust to me was the bitter menthol which overwhelmed most of the other flavors quickly and lingered.  Even at this price, I probably won’t buy this one again.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Light Red Tango Of The Vines

Originally posted at Blogarhythms on 2/21/2010.

Yet another inexpensive (aka cheap) wine for consideration and enjoyment.  Generally speaking, I enjoy Malbecs.  OK, fine, there aren’t many wine varietals and/or blends that I don’t – generally speaking – enjoy.  Certainly, there are some individual wines that I don’t enjoy at all.  But this time around was not one of those exceptions.

Vineyard:     Santa Florentina
Wine:           Malbec
Vintage:       2009
Appellation: Famatina Valley – Argentina
Price:          $8.99

Notes:         With the scents of plum and dark cherry on the nose, this lighter-bodied red provides plenty of black cherry, plum, and fig flavor with hints of caramel.  The finish brings a very pleasant prune with just a touch of leather.  The wine has good acidity and very modest tannins.  Overall, a fairly pleasant wine from the land of the tango.  As it’s a 2009 and on store shelves now, I’d say this is not a selection for cellaring.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Trapiche Malbec 2009

I am doing my best to get the majority of my archived wine posts moved over here.  I am surprised at how many there actually are.  Ha!  Well, I DO like wine.  This was originally posted at Blogarhythms on 10/8/2010.

Good inexpensive drinking from the Southern Hemisphere. 

Vineyard:     Trapiche
Varietal:       Malbec
Vintage:       2009
Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina
Price:          $8.99

Notes:  Very pleasant medium-bodied Malbec bringing enjoyable dark berry and cola flavors to the fore.   Hints of vanilla and an earthiness add interest and complexity to an easy-to-drink selection.  Modest tannins.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About”for the full disclaimer.