Archive for ‘Argentina’

October 3, 2019

Zuccardi Q Malbec, 2016

zuccardi Q malbec 2016

Malbec is not our thing (in a major way).  And this Malbec, despite its serious points credential (witness the proudly displayed Robert Parker seal of approval), is really not our cup of tea.  There’s a line in the sitcom Difficult People where they tell an embarrassing story about Arthur, the PBS WASP drone husband of Julie, that one time he ordered a Malbec. Laugh if you get it I guess.

 

But here’s the rub: Zuccardi makes some good wines and this wine is ludicrously food friendly.  The Q series is not top of the line Zuccardi but we’ve had it several times with different foods and while it’s not a star varietal it has a blank canvas food friendly aspect which never ceases to surprise.  There is no supercharged oak.  We drank it this week with Japanese beef stew, heavy in ginger, Mirin, squash, soy and stock.  It was ideal.  Who would of thunk?  But a bit dull as a sipper.

 

Price: A reasonable $28 at private wine shops, give or take.

 

Market Liquidity: Leonard Zelig-esque.

 

Oh and a link here to our over-the-top Zuccardi tasting night in Buenos Aires, a few years back, at El Baqueno.

arthur tack difficult people

Arthur Tack has a drinkypoo

August 7, 2019

Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016

Vina Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016

First, the 92 points are from James Suckling.  Not sure why, but I’m never on the same page as Suckling (or, put another way, “who cares about the points?”).  So that wasn’t the draw.  But the price was a draw; $28 reduced to $24.  Yes and yes.  And in the end, a lovely purchase.  Medium for a Cab Sauv, it wasn’t even really majestic with red meat in that Ridge Caymus Jordan way, that left jab right hook in the style of the California heavyweights.  And at 13.5%, how wonderful to be so wonderful.  Dark fruits/fruitcake fruits, charcoal chocolate, and then some tannins to make you pucker.  A great sipper.

 

Price: $24 at Everything Wine.  (By the way, their Malbec reviewed here was a non-starter for us.)

 

Market Liquidity: Value, verbatim.

February 22, 2019

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec, 2017

It’s young.  It’s not expensive. It’s littered with pointster stickers.  And yet?  It delivers.

 

With some air and time and despite its youth this is just surprisingly good value, gorgeously expressive of Malbec, tasty, tangy, forward, food friendly, and easy on the pocket book.  Who woulda thunk it?

 

Price: $17 at BC Liquor

 

Market Liquidity: A minor miracle.

November 17, 2018

Vino Cobos Felino Malbec, 2016

The worst Malbec is somewhere between chalk and unripe raspberry.  The best is like cherries jubilee, creamy and rich and assertive in its juiciness.  This is neither.

 

A slight but persistent bitterness overrides any enjoyment.  The predominant fruitiness is cough syrup.  The spicy white pepper finish is plainly unpleasant.

 

Moderately food friendly, forgettable as a sipper, but apparently a pointster star.  Go figure.

 

Price: A most appealing $21 at Everything Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: Sometimes, once is always enough.

November 3, 2018

Tinto Negro Limestone Block Malbec, 2015

The entry level TN Malbec will set you back $15.  It’s good patio value.  The Limestone Block will set you back double.  But it’s not twice as good.

 

With decanting and a little air this will soften up and beckon.  Previous vintages have scored highly with James Suckling and Robert Parker.  They like the balance, fruit and herbal notes.  We found it muted.  All those things they like are present, you just have to close your eyes and think hard.  It’s not an open book.

 

Price: $30 at Everything Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: Fleeting.  Think of a trumpet mute; it has an effect, but nothing worth a whole symphony.

April 4, 2018

Vaglio Chango, 2015

Gismondi liked this blend, liked it a lot, so we bought a couple.  He gave it 90 points.  I will trust his judgement, that it has legs (to 2020), and leave some down for the count, and look forward to next year, and the year after.  But today, opened today and even decanted and with air, it was a little brutish on the palate, and the stony mineral undercurrent he referenced seemed to us at the forefront.  You can sense the potential, but it was just a tad too young for us.  Plus it had a soupcon of that aggressive “cheap Malbec” on the nose.

 

Not bad with hard to pair meats (burgers slathered in condiments or a funky meatloaf) but not pure pleasure as a sipper.

 

Price: $23.50 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: A tulip before the bloom is really just a leaf.  But then what a bloom.

January 20, 2018

Clos de los Siete, Mendoza, 2012

From the cellar: Easy to find, easy to drink.  Not sure why we’ve never posted on the Siete, a lovely red blend highly recommended.  For whatever reason, we laid some down a few years ago.  I can’t unequivocally say that two years made an enormous difference, but there’s no denying the silkiness and allure of a slightly aged Siete.  And when you compare this to BC reds twice the price there’s no denying sheer brilliance at the price.

 

Although the Malbec dominates, the Merlot shines through, smooth and delectable, luscious in its fruit forwardness and with a lingering ripe plumb afterthought.  Zippo tannins.  A pinch of pepper.  Make no mistake: If you haven’t had a bottle you are passing on something of exquisite value.  Five bottles of this for the price of one fine Penfolds.

 

Price: Two years ago it was $24.50 all in at BC Liquor; nowadays, it’s $26 for the 2014 before egregious taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: Tuesday sipper or Sunday roast, it checks the boxes.

December 14, 2017

Domaine Bousquet Gaia, 2013

James Suckling loved this wine.  I wish we could say the same.  Aside from the organics stamp it didn’t have much satisfaction.

A Malbec dominant blend with Syrah and a touch of Cab Sauv, this has all the assault of a good red but none of the finesse.  It’s like the force of the front line without the expertise of the generals at HQ.  Although the (sharp, tannic, heady) attack is nothing like a Zin, we couldn’t help but think of the myriad California Zinfandels so aggressive and potent which leave you reeling after half a glass.  It held up well to red meat (and by God, I should hope so) but it was like an assault on the palate.  And to sip it was just an affront.

 

If you need an Uzi to do the work of a cordless drill, this is your wine.  Your 92 points wine.

 

Price: $30 at EW.

 

Market Liquidity: Pleasure free.  And wine without pleasure is vodka.

November 7, 2017

Amalaya Malbec, 2015

It’s been a few years since we picked up a bottle of Amalaya.  Why?  I have no idea.  It’s an inexpensive extremely palatable crowd pleaser that even pleases the pointsters.  From Salta, Argentina’s version of Atacama, it’s a dark, luscious sipper with a thick, balsamic feel on the tongue, and some charred chocolate and licorice on the finish.  Readily available across BC, the online description touts raspberry, graphite and black olives, none of which popped for us.  That said, this is spectacular “BC value” if you know what I mean.

 

Price: $22 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Like running into an old friend on the street.

March 7, 2017

Doña Paula Black Edition Estate Red Blend, 2015

Extremely good value.  Not a home-run blend by any stretch, but easily as good (i.e., approachable, food friendly, likeable), as any number of $40-plus BC reds.  Plus you get the red heft of a 14.5% wine at only 14%.

 

We found it flavourful but a bit flat, I mean if you’re comparing with the finer reds in your cellar; although not layered or wham bam impressive, this is obscenely smooth and ridiculously “sip” friendly, with plum jam on the palate and a slightly tannic but robust earthy finish.  Suckling gave it a monumental 94 points which to us seemed overkill but whatever.  We quaffed this down in 94 minutes.

 

Price: $24 at Everything Wine.  (Buy a case: 5% discount and free delivery.  Think of the upcoming BBQ season.)

 

Market Liquidity: The most social red at a reasonable price point we’ve sampled in 2017.