When I go traveling to a new wine region, in order to learn the most about the wines there, I employ a highly sophisticated three-pronged strategic approach. I order a bottle at every meal. Or I ask a sommelier for wine pairings with every meal. I go to wine bars where I can taste a lot of things. And I go to wineries.
OK. Maybe that’s actually a four pronged strategy. And maybe it’s not that strategic. Regardless, one of my favorite things to do is taste new wines, and I’ve had a great time doing that in Argentina.
On our last day in Buenos Aires, Ruth and I got invited to lunch by one of my readers who also happens to be in the wine business, and he brought with him several bottles for us and some other folks he knew to taste. Sitting out on the docksides of Buenos Aires sampling wine in the cool air and warm sunshine is tough to beat. Here are my notes from that session.
2004 Nomade Malbec, Mendoza
Medium ruby in color, this wine smells of purple: violets and cassis. In the mouth it is very elegant with smooth flavors of cassis and blackberry carried on a foundation of good acidity and imperceptible tannic structure. Despite being a very polished wine, it is a pleasure to drink. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $20.
2003 Fincas Don Martino “Martin” Malbec (barrel sample), Mendoza
Medium ruby in the glass this wine has a supple nose of shifting aromas that slip between plums, prunes, and violets. In the mouth it is soft and smooth with very light tannins that underscore flavors of plums and cherries that last through to a very nice finish. One of the more floral Malbecs I have had, and very nice for it. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $55.
2004 Bodega Andalhue “Sol Claro” Organic Malbec, Mendoza
Medium ruby in the glass, this wine smells of plums, bright cherries, vanilla and toasted oak. In the mouth the brightness of the cherry flavors continue and are joined by sour plums and very light tannins that are unfortunately replaced by a bit of alcoholic heat on the finish. This is a juicy wine that has a lively personality.Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $14.
2004 Bodega Sur de Los Andes Bonarda, Mendoza
Medium garnet in color, this wine has a fruity nose of soft blackberry scents mixed with toasted oak and light floral qualities. In the mouth it has a nice acidity which supports primary flavors of blackberry and cassis wrapped in flavors of sweet oak and vanilla, which are a bit heavy handed for my taste. Score: 8. Cost: $ .
2004 Bodega Sur de Los Andes Malbec Reserva, Mendoza
A medium ruby color in the glass, this wine has a straightforward nose of cherry, vanilla, and toasted oak. In the mouth it is smooth and well balanced with a mixture of cherry and cassis flavors rounded out with a hint of toasted oak that thankfully is not overwhelming. This is a pleasant and easy-to-drink Malbec that belongs on the dinner table.
Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $ 20.
2002 Durigutti Malbec Reserva, Mendoza
A cloudy, dark ruby color in the glass, this wine has a nose filled with aromas of redcurrant, cloves and other mulling spices. In the mouth it is soft and velvety with a medium body, a nice equilibrium, and flavors of cherry shot through with floral notes that linger in a pleasant and moderate finish. An excellent example of what Malbec can do when treated right. Very tasty. Score: 9. Cost: $22. Where to buy?
I know for a fact that all of these wines are available in the US, but not all of them are currently available online.