Legado Cabernet Franc 2015

Legado means legacy in Spanish.  Hmmm.  I’m not sure I have a personal legacy at this point.  Although if I keep at this blog long enough …?  I guess for now I’ll have to borrow someone else’s, so to speak.

Oenophilogical_LegadoCabernetFranc2015Winemaker: Legado (by Villafañe y Guzman)
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
Vintage: 2015
Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina

Notes: This Argentinian Cab Franc was very dark in the glass with scents of turpentine, sweet berries, and floral notes in the bouquet.  Medium-bodied with good acidity, the Legado had light tannins.  Alcohol was at 14%.  On the tongue the core flavor was dark cherry.  In addition, I tasted licorice, a touch of rubber, herbal hints and wood.

Alamos Red Blend 2013

I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago that my parents never threw anything away.  While that may be an overstatement, it isn’t too far from the truth.  Thus, they had a four bedroom house filled to the brim even in retirement.  They weren’t hoarders, but they were definitely savers.

When my sister and I were cleaning out the house a few years back, I packed up a number of boxes of “stuff” that was somehow connected to me.  There were photos, of course.  But they had also managed to hold onto, among other things, all of my school report cards.  All the way back to kindergarten!  K-12.  Ha!  Imagine how surprised I was when I found included with my fifth grade records a certificate of distinction for my efforts in Spanish.  What?!  I would love to remember now even as much (little) as I knew back in fifth grade.  Unfortunately, if the label on this Alamos red blend weren’t translated into English, I would have had to use “Google translate” to understand it.

Oenophilogical_AlamosRedBlend2013Winemaker: Alamos
Varietal: Red Blend
Vintage: 2013
Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina
Price: $9.99

Notes: This blend of Malbec, Bonarda, and Tempranillo was dark garnet in the glass with red berries in the nose.  Alcohol was at 13.9%, tannins were medium, and the flavor profile was primarily a very pleasant cherry.

Bodega Elena de Mendoza Red 2013

Wine from the slightly depressing drug store at the subway stop?  I’ve bought tubes of toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc. there as a convenience.  Saw the wines located near the sodas but never stopped to look – for years – until a couple of weeks ago.  Didn’t actually think I’d find anything I hadn’t seen at the wine shops and grocery stores in my neighborhood.  Largely that was true … until I spied this bottle of Argentinian red.

Winemaker:  Bodega Elena de Mendoza
Varietal:  Red Blend
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Mendoza, Argentina
Price:  $9.69

Notes:  The bouquet of this pretty dark ruby blend was fairly pungent with what I call barnyard and tangy berries.  Made with 64% Malbec, 20% Syrah and 16% Bonarda, it was medium-bodied with good acidity and light tannins.  Flavors I found included sweet currant and black raspberry, leather, a dash of pepper, an oak note and menthol.  Alcohol was at 13%.   I thought it was a fun wine – perhaps for a relaxing evening of chewing the fat with friends.

Bodega Norton Malbec 2014

At first blush, I thought I had found a winery from Virginia branching out to import some Argentinian Malbec like so many of the west coast houses seem to be doing.  I’m not complaining, you understand.  The more the merrier, I say.  But then my muddled brain remembered that Norton is the name of the grape varietal that some Virginia winemakers are fermenting and bottling rather than the winery.  Doh!  Nonetheless, it was reason enough for me to give this bottle a closer look and put it in my shopping cart.

Winemaker:  Bodega Norton
Varietal:  Malbec
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Mendoza, Argentina
Price:  $8.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  In the glass, the Norton was a deep red.  On the nose I found earth, mushroom and berries.  It was medium-bodied with racy acidity and medium tannins.  Flavors for me were black raspberry, oak, zippy pepper, and a hint of meat over an underlying cherry.  Toward the end, this wine presented a bitter note followed by a long cherry finish.  Alcohol was at 14%.   I liked it, simple as that.

Beringer Malbec 2012

Here is yet another U.S. label with a South American import among their offerings.  Given that Argentina is “the place” for Malbec, it certainly makes sense that a winemaker would choose the Mendoza region as their source.  Based on the fine print on the back of the label, this particular Beringer Malbec may have been made by the folks at Bodegas Trapiche.  Don’t know for certain, though.

Winemaker:  Beringer
Varietal:  Malbec
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Mendoza, Argentina
Price:  $12.49

Notes:  The color was a dark garnet.  On the nose I detected scents of dark fruit, rubber and a medicinal/chemical note.  Acidity was fine in this medium-bodied Malbec.  Tannins were also in the medium range with alcohol at 13.5%.  Flavors?  Well, I tasted plum, sweet blackberry, muffin, tea leaf, and what I would describe as bark from a tree branch.  Weird?  Well, some have said that about me, but I won’t apologize for my descriptors here:  it’s what I tasted.  I thought it was a very interesting selection and fairly enjoyable to drink.  I could see this making a return to my table sometime during the holidays.

 

Alamos Chardonnay 2012

This is just a quick post about an Argentinian Chardonnay I recently had.  In the immortal words of the character Joe Friday (played by Jack Webb) from the radio and television show Dragnet, I’ll be sticking to “just the facts.”

Winemaker:  Alamos
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Mendoza, Argentina
Price:  $8.99

Notes:  The color of this South American white wine was a pale shade of Maize.  On the nose I found lemon, toasty oak, some pineapple, and a zing of paint thinner.  Acidity was good but on the lower end of what I think of as typical for the varietal.  Alcohol was at 13.5%, and it was a medium-bodied selection.  Flavors?  Well, I tasted citrus (mainly lemon, some grapefruit), butter, pineapple, and grass.  It had quite a long finish that held copious toasty oak along with hints of spice and butter. I enjoyed this selection.  It does have a fair amount of oak which gives me no pause but isn’t to everyone’s liking.  With the buttery undertones, maybe this would be a good accompaniment to a lobster dish or chicken with mushrooms.  

Turning Water Pitcher Into Wine Carafe

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.

Oenophilogical_InnovacionBonardaCabernet2013By 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
Wine:  Bonarda-Cabernet
Varietal:  Red Blend
Vintage:  2013
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.

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.

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.