Tag Archives: malbec

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.

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.

Argentine Bombshells: Mendoza Malbec

95 & 96 points in Wine Advocate!

Get to know some serious Argentine Malbec from Mendoza’s La Consulta sub-region. Trapiche has been doing great stuff with Argentina’s signature grape for years and these two single vineyard offerings spotlight the nuances so vital to great wines. From sites 3200 feet above sea level, the 2008 Viña Jorge Miralles vineyard Malbec entices the eye with inky black and red hued colors. A fruitstravaganza of plums, cherries, blackberries, raspberries are woven into a velvety brocade. Toasted bread, white chocolate, and latte notes lead to lip smacking 45 second long finish. From vineyards of slightly higher altitude (3600), 2800 Viña Federico Villafañe is more ruby red with red cherries, orange rind in dark chocolate, warm and subtle spices with whispers of smoke. Generous and layered, dark chocolate and hints of bitter almond finish with soft and tasty tannins.

 

2008 Trapiche Malbec
Viña Federico Villafañe

…purple/black in color with an already complex nose of spicy black fruits, earth notes, and floral aromas. …splendid balance, volume, and length. Give it 5-6 years of cellaring and drink it from 2016 to 2028.

2008 Trapiche Malbec
Viña Jorge Miralles

…Succulent, layered, and opulent, this bombshell of a wine will also evolve for another 5-6 years and drink well through 2028. Readers will have a hard time keeping their hands off this beauty.

 

Magnificent Malbec from its Original Home

…in Cahors, France!

Deep in the southwest of France, amidst dramatic rock formations and cliffs, the River Lot snakes along the valley floor and around the charming town of Cahors. Once a Roman town, Cahors was also a center of commerce during the Middle Ages serving as a crossroads for pilgrims on the trail to Santiago de Compostella. Among many specialties bringing pride to the region, the constant has been its wine. Cahors is known as the “black wine” of the Southwest—the deeply inky, earthy wines complement the regional fare of duck (and its fat!) wonderfully. Cahors is also the birthplace of Cot, the grape more commonly known as Malbec. The Bernède family is an intricate part of this tradition, watching over one of the region’s oldest domaine that was founded before the French Revolution. Today, Cahors’ jack-of-all-trades and Renaissance man, Philippe Bernède, continues the family tradition with heart and ingenuity. Philippe’s vines rest upon the gentle slopes that rise above the River Lot. He farms sixty hectares of land along alluvial terraces of the river valley rich in siliceous, clay and limestone soils. The microclimate is ideal, southwest sun exposure and topographic protection against the frost, and what immaculate wines they produce. I visited Philippe earlier this year and tasted the 2010s, rather tight in January after just being bottled. Since then the wine is opening up its Malbec shell and is now rich, delineated, and a serious wine value.

 

2010 Clos La Coutale, Cahors

…visited Philippe earlier this year and tasted the 2010s, rather tight in January after just being bottled. Since then the wine is opening up its Malbec shell and is now rich, delineated, and a serious wine value.

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.

Three Bullseye Buys

At a bullfight in Rioja as I write, 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 CarménèreThe 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 MalbecThe 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…

 

 

 

Sexiest Couple in Argentina

92-pt Malbec and 90-pt Torrontes!

Colomé just keeps getting better. The Malbec has been a league leader for years and a Top 100 regular for Wine Spectator. Just a whiff of the 2010 Torrontes wowed us too. Both of Argentina’s signature grapes are winners in Colomé’s hands, always a lot of class for little cost.

The estate Malbec received a 92 from Sr. Parker, and it’s a terrific wine for under $25. It has the kind of dense fruit I like, lots of dark berries that are very fresh and jammy but with very little sugar; lots of tang and tingle. It’s layered with licorice, fig and chocolate. Amazingly, the white has just as much punch and perfume, the most character I’ve had in a Torrontes. This is a big white, packed with spice and energy despite its size, like a Botero dame doing a tango. Take note: there’s nothing new about Colomé wines, this is no startup import label. It’s from higher up, in Salta where they’ve been making good wine for almost 200 years. Both of these are rich wines and great value at everyday retail, and at B-21s prices they are terrific deals. Get you some!

 

2011 Colomé Torrontes

…Concentrated, supple and ripe, with impressive sappy intensity to the flavors of spices and fresh herbs. Builds nicely on the back half, finishing with lovely saline persistence and chewy grip.

2009 Colomé Malbec

…purple in color with a captivating nose of cedar, Asian spices, incense, violets, black licorice, espresso, and assorted back fruits. …beautifully proportioned offering with exceptional elegance and length….

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… 

Magnificent Malbec by Michel Rolland! Monteviejo Calypso

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

…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…

When Mendoza Met Amarone: 92-Point Enamore

2009 Enamore

2009 Enamore

This luscious blend of malbec and cabernet is a marriage made in the Veneto. The grapes are Argentinian of course (with a dash of bonarda too), but the method is straight from Valpolicella. It’s made with dried grapes in the fashion of Ripasso and Amarone. The ingredients and partners are a perfect match: the top notch Renacer winery from Argentina and the Allegrini family we know and love from Italy. We know they make fabulous Amarone in the Veneto but this is big, complex and jam-sweet for less than half the price. Italy and Argentina have always been simpatico but never so handsomely and irresistibly.

On The Road – Tracking The Great Malbec To Its Ancestral Home In Cahors, France

2009 Clos La Coutale, Cahors

2009 Clos La Coutale, Cahors

Following the path of the famous importer Kermit Lynch I looked forward to meeting many of his great discoveries, especially Philippe Bernède. He’s the master of Malbec, the famous “black” wine of Cahors up in the rugged terrain above Toulouse. This is where Malbec was born, in an old Roman town east of Bordeaux. You don’t know Malbec until you’ve had it from the source, no matter how much from Argentina you’ve drunk.

Bernède is quite modest about it although his family has tended malbec for six generations and Clos la Coutale is the most famous label in the region. It’s an old favorite of Kermit, and mine too. The 2008 was a centerfold of “The Buzz” last year. Finally got to meet him when he joined us for a seaside feast of shellfish straight from the Mediterranean. Too bad we couldn’t have had cassoulet to go with his Coutale; it’s made for duck fat. Maybe next time – and I will be back. Bernède’s a quiet and charming guy with many talents: On the side he invented a new kind of corkscrew with a double hinge.

Anyhow, his wines have set the standard for Malbec, a robust “red” that truly is nearly black. Full of blackberries and very dark fruit, silkier than you expect, maybe because of the dollop of Merlot or his careful barrel aging (in Seguin-Moreau barrels just like the high-priced guys). Still the 2009 is definitely big and built for the long haul. ’09 was a terrific year for Bordeaux and it delivered the same goodness in Cahors.