Mendoza, Argentina

The wines for this week’s tasting are imported by Vine Connections, an artisanal company that specializes in wine from Argentina and sake from Japan (they also represent two California wineries). Their website is incredibly educational including detailed information about all of their products, Argentine wine, Malbec, Mendoza, food and wine pairings, and much more. The following is and excerpt from their overview of Argentine Wine:

“Argentina stretches over 1 million square miles or about four times the size of France. The wide range of landscapes – the steep elevations of Salta, the majestic Andes in Mendoza, and endless plains of Patagonia – offer many ideal locations for grape growing.

So it is no wonder that Argentina is the world’s 5th largest wine producer, ranking only behind France, Italy, Spain, and the US. Major exportation did not begin, however, until the 1990s when domestic consumption plummeted to only 35 liters per capita from 92 liters in the 1970s. During that same period, US wine consumption almost doubled and many higher quality Argentine wines found their way to the US and Europe.

Attitudes toward vineyard management and winemaking have changed slowly, but there is now emerging a small cadre of winemakers, viticulturists and winery owners who have set their agendas around not only making the finest wines in Argentina, but also making wines that have the style and complexity to challenge the best in the world.”

For the tasting we will explore wines made from some of the most important grape varieties planted in Argentina- Chardonnay, Malbec, and Bonarda. There will be one white, two Malbecs, one Bonarda, and two blends of Malbec and Bonarda (one has a bit of Syrah as well). The wines are excellent examples of their varietals and region; the La Posta and Tikal offerings exhibit terroir and exemplify quality, traditional winemaking, and Old World-style while the Bodini wines present excellent value at $9.99 for the tasting.

We hope you will join us!

The specific wines for the tasting are:

Bodini Chardonnay 2010– Mendoza; vineyard locations- Los Arboles (Tunuyan), Alto Agrelo (Lujan de Cuyo). From vines planted at 3200 feet that average 21 years. 3 months in 30% 1-year French oak, 70% stainless steel. Melon, tropical, and banana scents exude from the perfumey nose. It is very creamy and textured on the palate with good viscosity and an approachable, fruity finish. Producer note- “Crisp tropical aromas of banana skin combine with light, dry oak notes to provide an alluring complexity. Full-bodied in the mouth but has vibrant acidity that never gets heavy. Hints of lemon and green apple lead to a dry, crisp finish. There is just the lightest kiss of oak flavor that frames the fresh fruit flavors.” Tasting $9.99

Bodini Malbec 2009– Mendoza; vineyard locations- Agrelo, Ugarteche (Luján de Cuyo), La Consulta (San Carlos). From vines planted at 3280 feet that average 23 years. 95% Malbec, 5% Bonarda. 4 months in 50% French oak & 50% American oak. Pretty purple in color with deep scents of dark ripe fruits. The palate is juicy and fruity with good acidity. An approachable, friendly offering. Producer note- “Aromas of dark, ripe bing cherries and toasty caramel. Full and fleshy in the mouth with loads of ripe and spicy red and black fruits. Firm tannins and great structure for such a drinkable wine with a long, persistent finish that continues to dance on your tongue long after the first sip.” Wine Advocate 88 points- “The 2011 Malbec contains 5% Bonarda in its blend and was aged for 4 months in French and American oak. Cedar, mocha, floral notes, spice box, and black cherry aromas set the stage for a savory, tasty, easygoing, forward wine that delivers excellent value. Drink it over the next 3-4 years.” Tasting $9.99

La Posta Cocina Malbec 2009– Mendoza; vineyard locations- La Consulta, Altamira, Vista Flores. From vines planted at 3064 feet that average 26 years. 14 months in 70% French and 30% American barrels; 20% new oak. Blueberry, berry pie, and blackberry fruits are abundant on the nose. The balanced palate offers firm tannin followed by a juicy, fruit-filled finish. Producer note- “Intense aromas of red rose petals and red berry fruits fill the nose. Enjoy violet, berry, and mocha flavors on the palate with just a hint of blueberry. As these flavors evolve you’ll be treated to a hint of chocolate on the finish.” Wine Advocate 89 points- “Purple, spice box, incense, black cherry; savory, ripe, balanced, drink now-6 years.” Tasting $15.99

La Posta Armando Vineyard Bonarda 2010– Mendoza; Armando Vineyard located in Guaymallen. From vines planted at 2300 feet that average 47 years. 10 months in 70% 2nd use French and 30% 2nd use American barrels. Inky purple in color. Sweet aromas of berry fruits, cotton candy, and berry jam. A rich but balanced wine. Producer note- “Intense ruby color with bright aromas of fresh red & black raspberries and subtle smoky oak notes. The flavor of freshly-crushed raspberries is echoed on the palate, along with notes of leather, dark chocolate, and a touch sandalwood on the finish. Though quite rich and hedonistic, the seamless structure of this wine makes it a candidate for drinking in its youth or over the next few years.” Tasting $15.99

La Posta Cocina Tinto 2009– Mendoza; vineyard locations- La Consulta, Altamira, Rivadavia, Vista Flores (Uco Valley). From vines planted at 3064 feet that average 27 years. 60% Malbec, 20% Bonarda, 20% Syrah. 14 months in 70% French and 30% American barrels; 20% new oak. Dark fruits and spice flavors are present on the elegant palate. Of the La Posta wines it’s more restrained and offers superb balance. An excellent value. Producer note- “Aromas of red cherries and raspberries are infused with mocha and spice hints that give up the secret for what’s about to come. Your first sip washes broadly across your palate like a flood of sweet, fresh fruit and the viscous mouthfeel keeps the flavors lingering for a while. The hints of baking spice and some oak keep the fruit flavors fresh and lively.” Wine Advocate 90 points- “Medium purple; loganberries, black cherry, spice box, some complexity, good balance, long.” Tasting $15.99

Tikal Patriota 2009– Mendoza; vineyard locations- Vista Flores Vineyard (Tunuyan); La Vendimia Vineyard (Rivadavia). From vines planted at 2900 feet that average 45 years. 60% Malbec, 40% Bonarda. Aged for 12 months in 70% French (40% new, 60% 2nd use) and 30% 2nd use American oak. Dark berry fruits on the nose nose combine with smoky “old world” rustic scents. Gripping dark fruit flavors and savory smoky notes are present on the textured palate. It is nicely balanced with blueberry and blackberry fruit notes followed by a lengthy finish of oak and spice. Producer note- “Deep reddish purple with aromas of bright berry/cherry fruit. Like swallowing a whole bowl of mixed ripe berries at once. Big body yet very balanced, with luscious layers of raspberry, cherry, and cocoa flavors. Just a hint of baking spice at the end brings it all together.” Wine Advocate 92 points- “Earth/mineral/underbrush; dense and layered, ripe, mouth-filling, impeccable balance, lengthy.” Tasting $21.99

vine connections

tikal patriota

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