Category Archives: Argentina

Wine Discovery of the Week – DiamAndes 2012 Perlita Malbec-Syrah

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Diamandes Perlita @WCW2014One of the perks of my job as a Wine Buyer is that I am regularly offered new products to taste and carry at our store. Of course these visits by our distributors can go either way. But every once in a while a wine leaves its mark. That is exactly what happened as I discovered this pearl.

Among four or five wines tasted including high-end Pinot Noirs and a unoaked Chardonnay, the Perlita  [little pearl in spanish] 2012 Malbec-Syrah blend from Argentina was for me the instant hit.

 

From Wines of Argentina:

It’s in 1999 that Michel Rolland along with 6 other Bordeaux winemakers founded the Clos de los Siete : an innovative and unique concept : More than 850 hectares divided in 7 plots, each one with its own winery. The vineyard is located in Mendoza, in the heart of the Uco valley, one of the best quality vineyard areas in Argentina. In 2005, the Bonnie family, owners of the renowned Grand Cru Classé Château Malartic-Lagravière, and its neighboring Pessac-Léognan Château Gazin Rocquencourt became part of this Argentinean adventure. Through the purchase, along with their partners, of a single estate of 130 hectares within the Clos de Los Siete, Bodega DiamAndes was born.

The 2012 Perlita is 80% Malbec 20% Syrah harvested April 3rd-15th and aged [100%] 10 months in french oak. Having never experienced such a blend I was very impressed with how each varietal improved upon each other. The Malbec spice balanced out the Syrah richness of fruit.

My notes;

Deep dark rich burgundy purple in color. At 14.5% ALC I was surprised to not see much legs on the glass at first but somehow they seemed to develop and linger in mere minutes. Dark fruit and tobacco on the nose. On the palate; good and noticeable acidity, fruit forward [blackberry] yet balanced with spice [vanilla]. Medium plus body with medium tannins.

As you can probably imagine this wine is now sitting proudly on our shelves at Whole Foods Market North Miami.  I am pretty sure I would have brought this wine in anyway but the deciding factor was its price. Usually available under $20 it is presently on-sale for $13.99. I will excitedly be introducing this wine to our customers who tend to lean towards fruit forward but well-balanced wines. Having bought  a couple of bottles for our cellar just last week: it may already be time to replenish.  ¡SALUD!  To discovering the pearls in life!

 

 

Technical info from Bodega Diamandes:

130 hectares
Terroir: Clay and sand with a a large quantity of pebbles. In the Uco Valley, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, at an altitude of 1100 m.
Planting density: 5 500 plants per ha
Vine care: Vertical trellising, green harvest, handed leaf thinning
Harvest: Handed picking with small crates, cooling in cold room, handed double sorting. No crushing
Vinification: Entirely gravity-operated process. Gentle extractions with fractional pumping over; slow, fermentation kinetics at low temperatures.
64 small temperature-controlled stainless steel vats (isolated with a double jacket). Unique in South America !
Consultant Oenologist: Michel Rolland

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Argentina’s Innovacion Torrontes-Pinot Grigio 2010 by Santa Julia

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Interesting how almost a year to date after discovering this wine at a local Whole Foods Market I am now employed as their Specialty Beverage Buyer in the beautiful new store in North Miami Florida. I was very excited to see this wine in our set and will be recommending it to our white wine drinkers. This is a perfect Spring and Summer choice for those who prefer a dry white. SALUD!

 

Whine And Cheers For Wine

Santa Julia Innovacion Torrontes-Pinot Grigio  2010

I discovered this wine last year while shopping at Whole Foods Market.  Three things made it jump out at me;

The fact that it was a Torrontes blend. The price, on sale at $10.99. The size, it is packaged in; a 1 litre bottle instead of the usual 750ml or 1.5 litre.

Appreciating everything wine from Argentina I had not yet come across a Torrontes blend. I actually still have not seen any others but I admit I have not gone out of my way to search them out either. Over the last year we have taste tested various Torrontes and I must admit that for me it is a varietal that I am learning to appreciate. In other words not love at first pour.

The taste is different from any other wine I have ever had. I would describe it as having substantial minerality, some…

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Celebrating Malbec World Day; Argentina’s LAMADRID 2006 Malbec Gran Reserva

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Malbec World Day officially April 17th came early to our house this year. May have had something to do with the celebratory mood here after being hired by Whole Foods Market as a Specialty Buyer.

Celebrating? My first reaction would be to pull out my favorite Malbec; Lamadrid. No not the Reserve for regular special occasions. The big guns! The 2006 GRAN Reserva.

In 2012 I wrote about the Lamadrid Reserva 2008 Malbec which you can also find below.   I was unemployed and it was just me and Miss Jane Doe our American Bulldog celebrating Malbec while in North Carolina. This year I am newly employed in a field I more than enjoy and am surrounded by friends and loved ones. Jane is here too 🙂  What a difference a year can make.

This Gran Reserva rated 94 points by Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in their May 31st, 2010 issue. Wine Spectator while rating it at 90 points had the following to say on this 2006 vintage:

Lush and exotic, with melted fig, anise, blueberry compote and plum sauce aromas and flavors pumping over graphite and licorice notes. Long and juicy on the rich, fruit-filled finish. Not shy at all, but pulls it off. 

From the LAMADRID web-site [translated from spanish]:

This wine is concentrated, highly structured, with a deep ruby ​​red color. The nose is spicy with findings of  cloves and cinnamon, and the presence of mature fruit. The palate is velvety and intense with tannins perceived to be balanced with the acidity.

The 2006 Lamadrid Gran Reserva Malbec is 100% Malbec from a single vineyard: Agrelo.  Was aged for 16 months in french oak and bottled September 2007. I’ve seen different counts listed on-line but as per the winemaker info; production came in at 8,328 bottles or 694 cases. Make that 693 or 692 because me and a friend  easily bought 1-2 cases over the last year or two. The going price then prior to discounts was about $35.00 per  but I have seen it now as high as $73.00. I am cherishing my last 2 bottles.

I noted a dark purple color turned bright red garnet at its edges and lingering legs on the glass. Both signs of alcohol level but luckily not evident on nose or palate.  I would describe this wine as dark fruit forward well-balanced with wood.  Detected on the nose; casis, oak, blackberry, prune and plum. On the palate the addition of leather, licorice and spiciness. It paired beautifully with a fresh garlic and mushroom pizza.

As I might have mentioned before 🙂 Lamadrid is one of my favorite wineries and their product is one I hope to carry at the new North Miami Whole Foods Market.  Their story truly made me bond with not only their wines but wine in general.    I can honestly say that the inspiration I received helped lead me to where I am today.

HAPPY MALBEC WORLD  DAY 2013!!  

Additional information is listed below.

¡SALUD! 

 

 

Argentina’s LAMADRID 2008 Malbec Reserva 

In honour of Malbec World Day I am partially reposting part of an earlier blog post [see below]. This is one of my favorite Malbec’s and “the one” that made me a fan. I thought what a better way to celebrate April 17th! Unfortunately I am celebrating alone unless you count Miss Jane Doe our American Bulldog who is keeping me company on this special wine day. Luckily she was able to convince me that it was worth opening for a party of one. Good girl Jane.

My notes:

The color; a deep beautiful purple burgundy with lingering legs. On the nose I detected sweet dark fruit [plum, cherry], oak, vanilla, leather. On the palate I tasted; cloves, tobacco, black pepper, the same fruits noted above along with vanilla, casis and a herbaceousness/earthiness factor as it opened. The tannins solid and a nice long finish.

This wine [different vintages] is available in stores and on-line although admittedly harder to come by as it is discovered and particular vintages disappear forever. If you should come across it I recommend you partake. At $16-$19.00 it is a steal. This wine could easily be priced at twice as much but lets keep that to ourselves. SALUD!

LAMADRID Estate Wines

I consider this vineyard to be one of my best discoveries of 2011. Their 2008 production is highly regarded, often hard to find at this point. The good news is that the 2009’s now appearing on store shelves have been rated just as high. Guillermo García Lamadrid and Hector Durigutti, master winemaker and general manager are truly masters at what they do. Durigutti considered to be today’s wine maker with the midas touch in Argentina. He also has own name-sake line of Durigutti wines, although hard to find in the states I recently found some in Aventura FL and in Tryon NC of all places.

Guillermo García Lamadrid originally caught my attention in wine class because he originated from Cuba [my people!] and became a successful winemaker when he migrated to Argentina via Puerto Rico. I am sure there is a very interesting story there. I have been lucky enough to have tasted quite of few of their wines; Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon [$14.00], RESERVE Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Cab. Franc [$18.00] and the GRAN RESERVE Malbec  [$35.00].

Hit or Miss? The Wall Street Journal Wine Club

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The Wall Street Journal Wine Club 

Two years into my membership I am  trying to decide whether to remain a member or invest my money on wines that I choose.   Wine clubs can be a great idea  for those with a lack of access to large varieties of vino and even those who would like to expand their horizons.  A site that reviews wine clubs including WSJ is the Wine Club Reviews and Ratings.

How the wine club works; after receiving a ridiculously inexpensive introductory case of wine, every quarter or so you receive a case [12 bottles] of reds, white or mixed depending on your preference.  The cost averages about $170.00 [U.S.] or about $15.00 per bottle for wines that are usually $12.00-$30.00 each. Other similar clubs include; Virgin and  Laithwaites.

I must admit that my first year I received wines that were very good to excellent but recently the choices have been very middle of the road to even disappointing.  Of course many factors could be at play here; bad choices by WSJ Wine Club, poor vintages, damaged product or just me and my taste buds. I must point out that WSJ will issue credit should you not be satisfied with any of their individual selections. But do you really want to be complaining on a regular basis? Maybe I have outgrown this club and its surprise element  preferring to discover wines on my own.  Could an official  Whine and Cheers for Wine Club be far off?  I say official because many of my friends are already receiving gifts, care packages and recommendations from my findings 🙂  It pays to have friends with wine benefits….

When I originally thought to write about my recent club experience it was to share all the selections I had been disappointed by: yes I had started a list.  But with the passing of time and the realization that we have enough negativity in our lives I have instead decided to share a couple of the recent delicious surprises I have imbibed thanks to the Wall Street Journal Wine Club: Domaine de Lognac Costieres de Nimes 2010 and the Schroeder Estate 2010 Pinot Noir from Patagonia Argentina. Both artfully done somehow with intense and yet delicate flavors representative of their individual varietal/blend.  I believe I may have one more bottle of the Domaine de Lognac in my cellar to enjoy again soon but the other Schroeder has somehow disappeared.  For those with access to these wines drink them now, I do not believe you will be disappointed.  ¡SALUD!

Schroeder Estate 2010 Pinot Noir

  • Country Argentina
  • Grape Pinot Noir
  • Type Still Red Wine
  • Appellation:Patagonia
  • Bottle size:75CL
  • Alcohol:14.5%
  • Units:10.875
  • Drink by:31/12/2015

The vineyards of Familia Schroeder sit in the valley of San Patricio del Chañar to the northwest of Neuquen province, at latitude 39° south.

The traits of the Patagonic terroir -stony soils, quality meltwater, a wide temperature range, frequent winds and low humidity- provide the ideal setting for an appropriate development of the vinestocks.

Endless blue skies guard 110 hectares of varieties such as Malbec, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet  Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

An absolutely delightful Pinot. Nice complex flavor,
The nose is earthy with a hint of tobacco (?), this wine is woody, yet fruity on the tongue and palette with notes of plum and blackberry, a smooth, almost sweet finish.

Domaine de Lognac Costieres de Nimes

Domaine de Lognac Costieres de Nimes 2010

Nicolas Bacqué (of the acclaimed Domaine de Lognac) made the most of the Rhône’s stellar 2010 vintage — and judges at the prestigious Concours des Vins du Gard 2011 agreed — they gave his opulent Costières de Nîems a silver medal.

Usually it’s plush, red-fruited Grenache that’s the star in the south. But here, it’s dark and spicy Syrah taking center stage — it makes up 70% of the blend. Nicolas then added the Grenache (20%), followed by a dash (10%) of juicy Carignan.

Look for a fragrant nose, with notes of red fruit and wild berries such as blackberry and a signature, spicy herb (garrigue) character. More of the same on the palate, followed by a long, smooth finish.

HARK – The Holidays Approacheth!!

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Happy Holidays

With that statement from a friendly customer a few days ago I knew it was here. As it quickly approaches the holiday season is once again sneaking up on us. From dead of summer to Halloween POW! it’s time for; Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day and New Years Eve just to name a few.

Recently I was asked to act as Interim Store Director for our Winn Dixie liquor store; thus begins my first holiday season in retail. Fortunately sales of wine and spirits are through the roof with daily sales increases in the high double and even triple digits compared to last year. Thank you wine buyers!

With the holidays upon us and family parties to help plan and take part in I have given a lot of thought to what wines to bring, gift, recommend and most importantly partake of. Luckily 2012 has exposed me to many good wines,  most of them affordable and easily accessible.  So upon much review I hereby offer what I hope will be a list of good value very drinkable wines that I have discovered throughout the year. Wines  meant to be shared with family and friends.  My official:   2012  Whine and Cheers for Wine Holiday List. For additional information on each just click on the links provided below.

Old Vine Zinfandel– After many tastings this year of this varietal, and I might add not really a stinker in the bunch, I ended up with an almost tie between Project Paso and Four Vines. The winner, FourVines which I have now had about three times in the last month. For the value it cannot be beat. Usually priced in the $12.00 range it can be found on sale now for $7-10.00.

Pinot Noir– Again it came down to two: Chile’s The Show and California’s Concannon. The winner is the Concannon 2010 Selected Vineyards Pinot Noir. Price range: $8-12.00.

Red Blend I lucked out with blends this year and the two that automatically come to mind would be; Argentina’s Amado Sur [$11-13.00] by Trivento and the Dream Tree Crush by rocker Dave Matthews and Steve Reeder [$15-18.00].  If you are looking for a bolder taste I’d choose the Malbec, Bonarda, Syrah blended Amado Sur. For smooth and light I’d suggest the Dream Tree Crush.

Côtes-du-Rhône-   LES HALOS DE JUPITER 2009.  A mostly Grenache Rhone that yes even goes excellently with corned beef. Price range; under $15.00.

White Bordeaux/Sauvignon Blanc- Chateau Montet at $8.99 vs. Chateau Tour de Bonnet Blanc $14.99. Both very good wines and values. That said if I were having a holiday party serving a large group; my “go to” wine would be the Chateau Montet. Everyone will be pleased.

Champagne/Sparkling Wine  One choice automatically jumps to the forefront: Champagne De Magerie A Bouzy Grand Cru [$35-40.00].  At this price, for me at least, it is not an everyday wine but a great special occasion choice.  Domaine Ste. Michelle [$15.00] has been our house sparkler for years but since I am writing about 2012 discoveries Piper Sonoma Sparkling Brut at $12.99 gets my vote.

Riesling- Chateau Ste. Michelle out of Washington State can do no wrong by me with their many worthy wines. Their Riesling and Sweet Harvest Riesling [$10.00] are affordable, dependable good wines. An easy choice. A new discovery for me this year was the Dr Loosen “Dr. L” Riesling. At $11.99 also delicious and dependable.

Merlot Gordon Brothers Family Vineyards from Washington State’s Columbia Valley is my clear winner. Their 2007 vintage was so memorable that 8 months later I am still thinking about it.  Priced in the $18-22.00 range it is worthy of the investment.

Malbec- For me all roads lead to Argentina’s LAMADRID. From their baseline Malbec [$10.00] to the RESERVE [$18.00] to their GRAN RESERVE [$28-35.00], which I recently finally tried after sitting on the bottle for 2 years, all are worthy.  Beautiful wines of which I wholeheartedly approve for vintages; 2008, 2009, 2010.

Chardonnay Over the summer I discovered a delicious Chardonnay; Hess Select from California’s Monterey region [$8-15.00]. More recently we have enjoyed Sonoma County’s Sebastiani [$8-12.00]. Both are rich and very well-balanced. For a non-California style Chardonnay [i.e. little or no wood] I suggest Fat Bastard  [$7-12.00] out of France.  Sourced from all over the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Those accustomed to oaky California Chardonnay’s may think they are drinking a completely different varietal. It is smooth yet  dry.

Cabernet Sauvignon- This category for me turned out to be the most varied in pricing. We lucked out; great Cab’s ranging from $10.00 to over $50.00. In the lower priced range Cycles Gladiator was a great find. One that our store now easily goes through a case a week.  In the mid-$20.00 range Sonoma’s  Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve was a wonderful treat, also one I’d like to revisit.  And at the higher end of the spectrum the delicious and exciting Stag’s Leap Artemis comes to mind; complex, full-bodied and powerful.

Sauternes- To complete our holiday meal or any special occasion I always think of Sauternes,  although you can also enjoy this sweet french wine at the start of your evening as an apéritif.  Our 2012 discovery was the 2008 Chateau Doisy-Védrines. Not inexpensive at $30.00 for a 375ml [half] bottle, but it is always worthy of a special occasion shared with worthy family and friends.

Here we are at the end of our first ever 2012  Whine and Cheers for Wine Holiday List. As 2012 starts to wind down I’d like to take this opportunity to be thankful. Very thankful to all my supporters and followers, some that I have had the honor of communicating with and getting to know throughout the year.  All your visits and comments have meant the world to me. Thanks to all of you,  2012 will always be my year of  Whine and Cheers for Wine! 

Thank you!

Happy Holidays

and  ¡SALUD!

 

Warm and Cozy with Trivento’s Amado Sur – Red Blends Continued..

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Warm and Cozy with Trivento’s

 2010 Amado Sur from Argentina

The luck of the red blends was with us again recently when I finally sat down to experience this delicious wine.  As I’ve asked before; can a wine make you feel warm and cozy? My answer is YES and for me the Amado Sur falls into this category.

I was drawn to this wine in our store because of its varietal blend; 80% Malbec, 10% Bonarda and 10% Syrah. Being a fan of all three led me to believe that I was going to enjoy their coming together and boy did I ever. I seem to not be the only one because it is flying off our shelves. I can take credit for a few bottles myself plus the happy returning customers that I have recommended Amado Sur to, but not the one to two cases we are going through weekly. So much so that we just ordered 10 cases for an end-cap display.  With the added benefit of a sale price and coupons we may just be ordering even more soon.

Trivento information from Banfi Importers: When in the mid-1990s Concha y Toro, Chile’s leading wine producer, announced its successful purchase a collection of vineyards (now accounting for 3,185 acres) in the Mendoza region of neighboring Argentina, there was little doubt on either side of the Andes that change was in the air. Wind is the agent of change, so it was only fitting that the new venture was named “ Trivento” (Three Winds), a whimsical reference to three winds that sweep through Mendoza and are such a distinguishing feature of the region’s climate and environment.

Upon decanting the first thing I noticed was its rich aroma which included; dark fruit, caramel and an undertone of wood.  As it breathed I also noted; black pepper, blackberry, black olive and oak on the nose.  Once poured its bright garnet color, more so along the edges of the glass, brought attention to the lovely slow-moving legs. Both of these I believe a cause of the wines alcohol level.  Additionally noted on the palate were; chocolate, a sweetening of the wine as it opened and what I listed as violet but in actuality may have been anise or licorice.

Winemaker notes: A deep red wine with dark blue tones and aromas of dark fruit combining with notes of black pepper, anise, cinnamon and chocolate. Lush flavors of plums and berries give way to velvety tannins and a persistent and pleasant finish.

We paired the Amado Sur with an aged cheddar cheese to start followed by pepperoni pizza. It worked very well with both, making the cheddar explode with flavor and the pizza even more spicy. I am looking forward to enjoying this wine again and again and even more so sharing it with family, friends and customers. ¡SALUD!

Price range: $12-17.00

Wine Spectator Review:

A floral red, with juicy blackberry, raspberry and plum notes supported by medium tannins, as the grippy finish unfolds with hints of mulled spice and licorice. Smart Buy. 90 Points.

Nathan Wesley – Wine Spectator – October, 2012

In honour of Malbec World Day; Argentina’s LAMADRID 2008 Malbec Reserva

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Argentina’s LAMADRID 2008 Malbec Reserva

In honour of Malbec World Day I am partially reposting part of an earlier blog post [see below]. This is one of my favorite Malbec’s and “the one” that made me a fan. I thought what a better way to celebrate April 17th! Unfortunately I am celebrating alone unless you count Miss Jane Doe our American Bulldog who is keeping me company on this special wine day. Luckily she was able to convince me that it was worth opening for a party of one. Good girl Jane.

My notes:

The color; a deep beautiful purple burgundy with lingering legs. On the nose I detected sweet dark fruit [plum, cherry], oak, vanilla, leather. On the palate I tasted; cloves, tobacco, black pepper, the same fruits noted above along with vanilla, casis and a herbaceousness/earthiness factor as it opened. The tannins solid and a nice long finish.

This wine [different vintages] is available in stores and on-line although admittedly harder to come by as it is discovered and particular vintages disappear forever. If you should come across it I recommend you partake. At $16-$19.00 it is a steal. This wine could easily be priced at twice as much but lets keep that to ourselves. SALUD!

LAMADRID Estate Wines

I consider this vineyard to be one of my best discoveries of 2011. Their 2008 production is highly regarded, often hard to find at this point. The good news is that the 2009’s now appearing on store shelves have been rated just as high. Guillermo García Lamadrid and Hector Durigutti, master winemaker and general manager are truly masters at what they do. Durigutti considered to be today’s wine maker with the midas touch in Argentina. He also has own name-sake line of Durigutti wines, although hard to find in the states I recently found some in Aventura FL and in Tryon NC of all places.

Guillermo García Lamadrid originally caught my attention in wine class because he originated from Cuba [my people!] and became a successful winemaker when he migrated to Argentina via Puerto Rico. I am sure there is a very interesting story there. I have been lucky enough to have tasted quite of few of their wines; Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon [$14.00], RESERVE Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Cab. Franc [$18.00] and the GRAN RESERVE Malbec  [$35.00]. My personal favorite is the RESERVA Malbec 2008 and I hope to be writing about and drinking more of all of them in the near future.