This month we travel to Argentina and visit the areas of Salta, Patagonia, and Mendoza. Argentina is quicky making a name for itself in the wine world and you will understand why after trying these fabulous selections. The Ca' De Calle is a blend you will fall in love with right away with a rich nose, smooth body, and lasting finish. And just in time for spring the Rose blend of Malbec and Merlot is perfect chilled and paired with an herb risotto or lamb. Enjoy your journey!
Featured Wine – 1st Red
Ca’ De Calle Premier Blend - $22.99
Mendoza, Argentina, 2010
Ca' de Calle is Spanish for "House of Calle," named in honor of the winery founder, the late Ms. Elvira Calle, a famous businesswoman who owned the most important newspaper in Mendoza and ended her life as a philanthropist. Bodega Calle is a small-lot, gravity-flow, red wine making studio located in the prized area of Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. The winery concentrates on varietal wines and premium red blends sourced from the areas where each varietal in question grows best, as evident with a production of only 2,000 cases for this vintage. All wines are made with the use of gravity and are never pumped to deliver the grapes to the fermentation tank. This process, termed "gravity flow winemaking," allows Bodega Calle wines to be notably softer and less bitter than their conventionally pumped peers. This Premier Blend is comprised of 70% Malbec, 16% Tempranillio, 12% Syrah, and 2% Petit Verdot. Aged for 12 months in French Oak, this wonderful blend received 90 points in Parker’s Wine Advocate. It has a beautiful dark purple color that will remind you of the amethyst stone. On the nose you will get toasty plums, black cherry, and lilac flowers. The palate is rich and full, with layers of berry flavors and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Finishes soft with balancing acidity that will make you appreciate all the different varietals in this wine.
Fabre Montmayou Cabernet Sauvignon - $19.99
Rio Negro Valley, Patagonia, 2009
Fabre Montmayou Vineyard is located in Rio Negro, the most southerly of Argentina's wine regions, lying at a latitude of 39 degrees south – similar to the southern vineyards of Spain. Rio Negro has a cooler climate than almost any Spanish wine region that puts it closer to the likes of the northern Rhone valley in France. These wines benefit from a very unique personality thanks to the soil of the desert where the sunny days and cold austral nights provide a very harmonic balance. There, the magic of the terroir confers unique aromas, flavors and structure. Patagonia's huge day/night temperature swings (regularly 95 degrees by day, 45 degrees by night) produce wines with tremendous aromatic lift and real focus. All wines use estate grown grapes, farmed using traditional methods without the use of herbicides, and fermented with native yeasts. The first thing you will notice from this 88 point Cabernet (Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate) is its intense, scarlet red hue. Sixty percent of the wine was aged in French oak for 12 months so it has a great balance of fruit and oak. Vibrant aromas of currents and blackberries on the nose. On the palate comes a concentration of chocolate and hints of vanilla, finishing with a bit of smoke and pepper. This wine will be a sure hit paired with a nice sirloin fresh off the grill this summer!
Fabre Montmayou Reserva Malbec - $19.99
Uncluttered by excessive oak, Fabre Montmayou's Reserva Malbec is one of the purest expressions of the grape one can find in Argentina. Hervé Fabre arrived in Mendoza from Bordeaux in 1990, a time of great investment into Argentina. The trend was to buy vast tracts of undeveloped real estate. The land was cheap, the labor cheaper and with young vines, the production and profits could soar within just a few short years of work. Mendoza's oldest vineyards were of little interest to the new money. The yields were too low and farming too difficult. The ancient vines were known to make great wine, but the consensus was that they couldn't make money. So, Hervé did what almost no one else dared. He did things backwards. He went about buying all the old vine plantings he could find, really old plots, some being up to 100 years old. Then he went about trying to make money. It took a while, but now, almost 22 years later, as other wines from the region have become more and more mundane, Hervé's plan has paid off. The wine is sourced from estate grown old vines (all a minimum of 50 years old) and packed with the heady, dense aromas and flavors that make this terroir so special. This Malbec can be popped and poured on its own or with appetizers. Dark and dense, totally blackberrilicious! Terrific nose of full, ripe red fruit, then transforming to a mouthful of crushed berries. It has soft oak support from 40% of it being aged in French oak and good backbone tannins that mean over the next four to six years it is sure to age nicely. An extremely balanced wine with solid fruit, acid, alcohol and silky tannins. This vintage earned 89 points in Parkers Wine Advocate and was highlighted in March by Paul Gregette, Wine Adviser for the Seattle Times, as the highlight of his recent Malbec tasting.
Fabre Montmayou Rose Blend - $15.99
Mendoza, Argentina, 2011
You are in for a real treat with this unique, salmon colored blend! Bordeaux native Hervé Fabre had to request special permission from Mendoza bureaucrats to bypass the region’s customary July 1 hold on 2011 exports, making this pink colored beauty literally the very first Argentine wine of the vintage to make it to the United States. Rose is at its best when consumed young - this is without question as fresh as wine gets! A true rosé is not a blend of white and red wine. Instead, like red wine, rosé wine is made from red (or black or purple) grapes. But whereas red-wine makers allow the grape skins to ferment with the juice for an extensive period, rosé producers keep the skins in contact with the juice for only a brief time. Then the pink-tinted juice is drained, or bled off, from the skins. The resulting color, ranging from pale pink to a deeper shade of salmon or coral, is a delight for the eyes. Crafted with European styling this is perfect for grilled summer fare. Only 1,000 cases made of this Malbec and Merlot blend, which underwent a short eight hour maceration. The nose gives off intense, creamy fruit and hints of tobacco and earth. In the mouth rich layered ripe and chewy sour fruit (cassis, blackberry, and dark cherry) with a hint of earth. Complex bouquet of alpine strawberries, orange rind, and mineral, with fleshy peach and berry notes on the palate. Lively acid on the attack, fuzzy tannins on the tongue. The wine finishes dry, with balanced acidity. Rated 88 points in Parkers Wine Advocate.
Carlos Basso Torrontes - $18.99
Salta, Argentina, 2011
Originally from Genoa, Italy, the Basso Family has been producing wine since 1922. In their beginning they owned the "Purísima" winery from where they sold wines in 220 liter wooden barrels. In 1935, Adolfo Basso, together with his brother Tulio, purchased the "Santa Ana" winery, eventually turning it into one of Argentina's largest bodegas. Seeking to simplify their lives and once again become involved in small production winemaking, the family sold "Santa Ana" in 1996. Using the profits from this sale the Basso's purchased and remodeled a small winery in Carrodilla, Mendoza the following year. Inside this space the "Carlos Basso" project was born. The winery is 100% estate, with two vineyards in Mendoza's Uco Valley. Carlos and his son Adolfo run the day to day operations of the winery. Produced in Salta, Argentina, the climate is ideal for cultivating this native grape variety. On the nose you get elements of the spicy Alsace wine, Gewürztraminer, famous for its scent of rose-petals and lychees, though it tends to be less luscious and oily on the tongue. The bouquet is bursting with aromas of white flowers and citrus fruits. It is fresh on the palate with crisp fruit flavors and minerals. The acidity makes it a perfect pairing with spicy South Asian cuisine, particularly Thai. Torrontés often has some of the stone fruit and floral character of Viognier, though can be a touch more exotic sometimes with a whiff of orange blossom, jasmine and geraniums. This wine has a fulsome body, texture, and big personality!
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