Vistalba Corte C, 2009

Critic’s darling.  Mr. Parker gave it 90 points; collar on the neck.  Local reviewer Anthony Gismondi echoed that with 90; hand-written note in the store.  Wine Access best buy sticker on the neck.  And so on.  But I can’t help but feel this is a bit like the critics who liked Clooney in The American.  It was a visually stunning bomb and it may have thrilled the jaded critics who sit through a panoply of dross, but it’s was just an OK not-that-exceptional red at a very good price point for us.

A blend, but mainly malbec, it sipped quite nicely and fresh from the bottle without air had a deep, smoky, spice nose and bite.  Funnily enough, though, if I hadn’t seen the collar with ROBERT PARKER 90 POINTS, I would have pegged it at a mere 88 points (whatever the heck that means).  Worse, though, it was not food friendly.

We drank it with two dinners, a meat based pasta one night and a homestead beef chili with corn bread the next, an on neither occasion, when a malbec would normally wow, was it as suave and elegant as on first sip.  With food it became somewhat sour, chalky and bitter.

It may well be the most pleasing value red on the market for some, but we’ll pass on buying it again, regardless of the plaudits.  I am extremely tolerant of mediocre wine and slow-moving movies—hey, I sat still through all 104 minutes of The Scent of Green Papaya without any qualms—but there is more wine, and better wine, even at this price, to settle.  Oh: And reviews are subjective.  I count myself.

Price: $19.99 at BC Liquor

Market Liquidity: Doesn’t play in Peoria.

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