Tag Archives: argentina wine

Poetic Pair: 94 & 96 Point Argentinian Beauties Just Arrived

Argentine wine lovers should get to know Poesia. We all should! The remarkable team of Hélène Garcin and winemaker-husband, Patrice Lévêque, who reign over four exceptional Bordeaux chateaux, shrewdly purchased an old vine vineyard in Mendoza during the country’s financial crisis in 2001. Great vineyard site and old vines (malbec and cabernet sauvignon) in the hands of this dynamo team? I found out first hand several years ago. You should, too. Hélène was right here in Tarpon last month to share these recent releases. The 2006 is a rich style more akin to Hélène’s Pomerol, Chateau Clos L’Eglise: rich and elegant, lovely now. The 2008 Poesia is more youthful, has more cabernet drive, it seems: long, with a seriously intense finish, more resembling Hélène’s cabernet based Chateau Branon. Poesia just might be the most sophisticated wine of Argentina.

 

2006 Poesia

…nose of smoky new oak, mineral, damp earth, black currant, black cherry, and blackberry followed by a plush, nearly opulent wine… notes of espresso and chocolate emerging on the palate, superb grip, and 5-7 years of aging potential….

 

2008 Poesia

…The wine’s dense blue/purple color is followed by notes of blueberry liqueur, scorched earth, graphite, blackberries and a hint of white chocolate. It should age effortlessly for 15-20 years….

 

Don’t Cry For Me, We Have Argentinian Malbec!

These guys are serious about crafting something different from the grape that is synonymous with the high Andean plains of Argentina. For the past 15 years, their vines sunk roots deep into the calcareous, rocky soils. During that time Mariano Innocenti and Alejandro Angulo sampled thousands of wines from around the world in a monthly session to learn about styles, trends, grapes, and of course, tastes. Combining their dedication with pristine viticulture, and the warm days and cool nights of La Consulta, the result a sensual Malbec giving enough fruit to be enticing while having a taught line of fresh mineral undertones. Their first malbec release was 2010 and sold out quickly to rave reviews. Good for them.

 

2011 Angulo Innocenti Malbec

Inky yet superfresh, with floral and spice accents to the chewy plum skin, raspberry and blueberry coulis fruit. Drink now through 2016. 1,500 cases imported.

2011 Amancaya Just Released

Malbec in Argentina got its native French accent back when the Domaines Baron Rothschild joined up with the Nicolas Catena family of Argentina a few years back. The Baron happens to own Chateau Lafite Rothschild, and a number of other projects around the globe. His 2011 Amancaya puts Malbec forward with a little Cabernet in Bordelais style. The flavors are red currants and cherries, with a slight vanilla tone and herbs in the background. A beautiful wine that appeals to every level of wine appreciation and sophistication. There is a purity in this 2011, concentration and freshness and a distinct Lafite lift. It reminds me in style of the 2009 Bordeaux and at $17, a very good thing. Shows me that Argentina Malbec can be truly elegant, with the right blending and careful use of oak.

 

2011 Amancaya

Possibly the finest Amancaya yet. As good as the stunning 2009. It is silky and pure with great length. Very sophisticated for the price. More Malbec driven it seems than some previous versions.

Three Andes Bullseye Buys

At a bullfight in Rioja… the matador is wearing an eye patch. Turns out he was gored in October and lost his depth perception. Now that I have you, don’t take your eyes off of these three selections. Amancaya: you love this Cabernet and malbec blend. Calypso is stylish malbec by the famous Michel Rolland. …And, Chilean Carmenere doesn’t get much better than this 2010 Primus. All have have scored 90 points or better. Treat yourself to all three at these prices.

 

2010 Primus Carménère

The 2010 Carménère is a glass-coating opaque purple color. Balsam wood, wild berries, brier, and herbal notes inform the nose of a dense, plush, savory wine. Mouth-filling, ripe, and pleasure-bent…

2010 Amancaya

…aromas of dark plum and blackberry. It feels intense, packed and pure in the mouth, with potent flavors of blackberry, baked plum and cassis. The finish feels mild and smooth, with a long, jammy, steady fade….

 

2009 Calypso Malbec

The 2009 Calypso is 100% Malbec aged in 50% new oak. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it exhibits an inviting nose of wood smoke, pencil lead, spice box, leather, and black cherry. Dense, ripe, and savory…

 

 

Don’t Cry For Me, We Have Argentinian Malbec!

These guys are serious about crafting something different from the grape that is synonymous with the high Andean plains of Argentina. For the past 15 years, their vines sunk roots deep into the calcareous, rocky soils. During that time Mariano Innocenti and Alejandro Angulo sampled thousands of wines from around the world in a monthly session to learn about styles, trends, grapes, and of course, tastes. Combining their dedication with pristine viticulture, and the warm days and cool nights of La Consulta, the result a sensual Malbec giving enough fruit to be enticing while having a taught line of fresh mineral undertones. Their first malbec release was 2010 and sold out quickly to rave reviews. Good for them.

 

2011 Angulo Innocenti Malbec

Inky yet superfresh, with floral and spice accents to the chewy plum skin, raspberry and blueberry coulis fruit. Drink now through 2016. 1,500 cases imported.

Magnificent Malbec by Michel Rolland!

Monteviejo Calypso: 90 points

What would happen if you let the Bordeaux guru Michel Rolland loose in Argentina? To find out, try Calypso. You’ll be pleased. I know I was. It’s all malbec and very, very French. That comes from the Pomerol polish of Catherine Pere Verge (you love her Chateau Le Gay) as well as Rolland. With Calypso, you get the strength and density of malbec with a French sophistication and smoothness. Must be Michel and just the right combination of new and old oak. Lots of dark, savory flavors… black fruits and peppery spice. Like a perfectly made espresso, but sexier. If malbec met merlot… almost. The soft French accent was a happy surprise at our big Spanish tasting last month. These are two delicious traditions magically combined. Before calypso was the music of the Caribbean, it was the name of an enchanting nymph in Greek mythology, the Titan Atlas’ daughter. This time, the Titan is Rolland. Place his heavenly jewel in your Pandora’s cellar.

2009 Calypso Malbec by Monteviejo

…juicy dark fruit flavors enlivened by peppery, spicy energy and framed by integrated acidity. Broad but not heavy. Finishes seriously long and spicy, with fine, mouthcoating tannins.

2010 Amancaya is World-Class Malbec You Love

Malbec got its native French accent back when the Domaines Baron Rothschild joined up with the Nicolas Catena of Argentina a few years ago. The 2010 Amancaya cuvée puts Malbec forward with a little Cabernet in a Bordelais style. The flavors are red currants and cherries with vanilla and herbs in the background. A beautiful wine that appeals to every level of wine appreciation and sophistication. 2010 Amancaya has an amazingly high level of concentration, freshness, and distinct Lafite poise. Shows me that Argentine Malbec can be truly elegant, with the right blending and careful use of oak. You’re gonna want that.

 

2010 Amancaya Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon-Malbec

…It feels intense, packed and pure in the mouth, with potent flavors of blackberry, baked plum and cassis. The finish feels mild and smooth, with a long, jammy, steady fade….

Don’t Cry For We Have Argentina Malbec

These guys are serious about crafting something different from the grape that is synonymous with the high Andean plains of Argentina. For the past 15 years, their vines sunk roots deep into the calcareous, rocky soils. During that time Mariano Innocenti and Alejandro Angulo sampled thousands of wines from around the world in a monthly session to learn about styles, trends, grapes, and of course, tastes. Combining their dedication with pristine viticulture, and the warm days and cool nights of La Consulta, the result a sensual Malbec giving enough fruit to be enticing while having a taught line of fresh mineral undertones. Their first malbec release was 2010 and sold out quickly to rave reviews. Good for them.

 

2011 Angulo Innocenti Malbec

Inky yet super fresh, with floral and spice accents to the chewy plum skin, raspberry and blueberry coulis fruit. Drink now through 2016. 1,500 cases imported.

Poetry In Motion

Pair of Poesia, 94 & 96 pts!

Argentine wine lovers should get to know Poesia. We all should! The remarkable team of Hélène Garcin and winemaker-husband Patrice Lévêque, who reign over four Bordeaux chateaux, shrewdly purchased an old vine vineyard in Mendoza during the 2001 financial crisis there. I enjoyed visiting them during the 2007 March harvest. Hélène reciprocated with a visit to Tarpon Springs last month and to share these recent releases. The 2006 is a rich style more akin to Hélène’s Pomerol, Chateau Clos L’Eglise; rich and elegant, lovely now. The 2008 Poesia is more youthful, has more cabernet drive, it seems; long, with a seriously intense finish, more resembling Hélène’s cabernet based Chateau Branon. Poesia may be the most sophisticated wine in Argentina.

 

2006 Poesia

…nose of smoky new oak, mineral, damp earth, black currant, black cherry, and blackberry followed by a plush, nearly opulent wine… notes of espresso and chocolate emerging on the palate, superb grip, and 5-7 years of aging potential….

2008 Poesia

…The wine’s dense blue/purple color is followed by notes of
blueberry liqueur, scorched earth, graphite, blackberries and a hint of white
chocolate. It should age effortlessly for 15-20 years….

 

Catena Continues to Climb!

Wine Advocate ranks ’07s at 96! 97! 98!

How high can Catena take cab and malbec from Argentina? At the top of their game and near the top of the Andes, Catena has elevated the wines of Argentina to world-class heights. I don’t think it’s just New World with an odd grape for a signature either, not Catena’s top level Zapata Malbecs. These are exquisite and powerful displays of the varietal. Adrianna is pure high altitude, big purple and berry flavors wrapped in exotic spices. Argentino is also full of dark berries, richer and silkier. Tanzer calls it a knockout. All are remarkably seamless with very long finishes; they will evolve for the next five years and age happily in your cellar for another ten or 20. In short, amazing! Every connoisseur will want them all.

 

2007 Catena Zapata Cabernet…aromatic array of pain grille, pencil lead, mineral, espresso, mocha, incense, lavender, black currant, black cherry, and blackberry. …full-bodied, powerful yet elegant effort with great depth and volume… 
2007 Catena Adrianna Malbec…expressive bouquet of sandalwood, Asian spices, incense, mineral, black cherry, and black raspberry. Opulent on the palate with serious extraction, great depth of flavor, complexity, and impeccable balance… 
2007 Catena Argentino Malbec…this has generally been my preference because it seems to have an extra dimension of complexity…. The Argentino offers a similar aromatic and flavor profile, but with just a bit of extra nuance… 

Wine Lab Wednesdays with the New Kids on the Block

…No, not these guys. ….But we got it: the right stuff.

New Bs Crystal and Zach
New Bs Crystal and Zach

Our Wednesday night taste ‘n’ talk get-togethers and staff tastings are starting to draw a crowd of wine-lovers.

Customers, suppliers and the staff seem to like going through a dozen or so bottles of wines, some of them good deals on our shelves and some we might buy. It gives everyone an inside insight on the process. By everyone, that may mean Bob, Shannon, Rhett, Mark, myself… and now, the shining new faces on the crew, Zach Groseclose and Crystal Farina, two smart young Tampa Bay wine talents.

Zach comes to B-21 from the Beach Bistro, the gourmet center of Anna Maria Island, and also Eli’s in New York. Crystal has a sharply honed palate, spending several years with local wine merchants and restaurants (if you miss her at Gino’s Italian in Carrollwood, she’s here!) before coming to B-21.

Tonight, J.C. Marin, the amiable rep from Winesellers Ltd., will bring out some Lodi reds, an intriguing Aussie shiraz called the Ripper, and new vintages from Argentina, including organic torrontes and bonarda. Help us taste them and make up our minds. Stop by from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight, and every Wednesday, for the latest buzz on the tip of our tongues. Remember, the longer the hang time, the better the wine …and the conversation.

Susana Balbo Takes Malbec To 92 points!

Susana BalboSusana Balbo is a passionate and forceful advocate for malbec. I’ve seen her operation in Mendoza and I’m very impressed. You are too if you met her in Tarpon Springs last year or if you tasted the malbec in her best-selling Crios line. But this bottling is truly the signature wine of Argentina and also of Balbo’s ambitious wine making. This malbec is smoking, full bore yet elegant. Not a little black number but a big one, dark purple, blackberry and black cherry, dark chocolate and espresso, fire and spice. This the kind of malbec that earned the name “black wine” and wears it with style. If you know and love Balbo for her Crios wines, you’ll be thrilled with the sophistication of the 2009 Signature. You’ll want plenty for your cellar, and at this price you can sure have them. Run-n-tell that.

2009 Susana Balbo Signature Malbec2009 Susana Balbo Signature Malbec

“…Attractive aromas of pain grille, smoke, mocha, spice box, and black cherry set the stage for a plush, full-bodied, succulent wine with intense flavors and a seamless finish….”  92 Points, Wine Advocate

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Catena climbs even higher: WA ranks ’07s at 95 and 98!

Laura Catena and ShannonHow high can Catena take Argentine cab and malbec? At the top of their game and near the top of the Andes, Catena has elevated the wines of Argentina to world class heights. Don’t think it’s just New World with an odd grape for a signature. Not Catena’s top level Zapata Malbecs. These are excellent and they make three, each an exquisite and powerful display of the varietal. The single vineyard Nicasia is full of dark berries and softened by aging in two rounds of new French oak, making for a heady mix of dark chocolate and coffee. The Adrianna is pure high altitude, big purple and berry flavors wrapped in exotic spices. The Argentino is a magnificent blend of the two, and somehow richer and silkier. Tanzer calls it a knockout. Yet the best of the lot is probably the cabernet/malbec blend with punch of cab franc and petit verdot, all the espresso cocoa and toast as well as ripe fruit. Amazing. All are remarkably seamless with very long finishes; they are still evolving for the next five years and will age happily in your cellar for another ten or 20. In short, these are $100 wines. Not here, not for my friends who believe in the greatness of Argentine wines. Every Argentine connoisseur will want them all. Run-n-tell that.

2007 Nicasia Malbec

Offers good density to the blueberry, raspberry and blackberry coulis flavors that are backed by vibrant acidity. Floral and mineral notes play out on the long, tangy finish. Drink now through 2014. 8,000 cases imported.  95 Points, Robert Parker’s WA

2007 Zapata Cabernet

Offers good density to the blueberry, raspberry and blackberry coulis flavors that are backed by vibrant acidity. Floral and mineral notes play out on the long, tangy finish. Drink now through 2014. 8,000 cases imported.  98 Points, Robert Parker’s WA

Best Buy In Argentina: 2009 Colome Malbec, 92 WA!

Don HessWish I could say we discovered Colome. The winery was founded way high up in Salta in 1831. Makes it older than any winery in California or our part of the Americas. Don’t know how good the wine was then, but Colome’s malbec has been knocking the critics back for the last few years. It has made Wine Spectator’s Top 100 for the 2007 and 2008 vintages and now the 2009 gets a 92 from Senor Parker. That’s high attitude to match the altitude. Colome has the kind of fruit I like in a wine, lots of berries that are very fresh, jammy but with very little sugar, lots of tang and tingle. It’s layered with licorice, fig and chocolate, some of which may come from the splash of cab and syrah in it. Only way I can make it better is my price, and I’m offering it to you as low as it can be.  Colome’s price has never been so low. Run-n-tell-that.

2009 Colome Malbec2009 Colome Malbec

Offers good density to the blueberry, raspberry and blackberry coulis flavors that are backed by vibrant acidity. Floral and mineral notes play out on the long, tangy finish. Drink now through 2014. 8,000 cases imported.  92 Points, Robert Parker’s WA

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