Not exactly a holiday miracle, I know. In fact, it was a clear case of unpreparedness on my part. Luckily, folks I hang with are more interested in function than form. Or perhaps it would be more precise to say they care more about enjoying themselves than making a fuss over the details. In this case, it was the lack of a wine carafe or wine decanter sufficient to the task.
You see, I had brought along a 1-liter bottle of vino for Xmas dinner that needed to be decanted before drinking. Without bothering to ask, I made the assumption that our hosts would have one handy. They had several, of course, but they were of the half-bottle size. Knowing full well that this wine needed a good hour to breathe before consumption, I should have brought mine. Luckily, there was a lovely crystal water pitcher that was just the right size to allow this enjoyable blend of 90% Bonarda and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon to get some air.
By the way, I’m calling this wine a blend because the Zuccardi folks have made it very clear on the front of the label that this wine isn’t 100% Bonarda. I don’t know the ins and outs of the Argentinian regulations regarding blends and single varietals, but I know this would be labeled simply as a Bonarda if it were coming from California. Another vintner that practices sustainable farming, this Innovación from the Santa Julia Winery is also vegan friendly.
Winemaker: Innovación by Familia Zuccardi
Varietal: Red Blend
Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina
Price: $9.99 (1 liter) at Whole Foods
Notes: The color of this Argentinian blend was deep purple. In the bouquet I detected scents of oak, menthol, berries, and dusty topsoil. I thought the acidity in this wine was fairly high (racy, I believe some call it). Alcohol was at 13%. Weight on the tongue was medium, but just. Tannins were present and accounted for – medium, I’d say. When first opened and poured (without oxidation), flavors I tasted were primarily salty black olives, black plum, tea leaf, tobacco, and a bit of menthol. It was really quite heavy on the salt and black olives. With that hour to breathe, the wine settled nicely. The olive and salinity flavors receded in favor of the plum while it also added some cherry and spice notes. It was a nice addition to our feast – fine both to sip while finishing dinner prep and with our chicken piccata.