High-altitude Argentinean Chards are gaining popularity

June 25, 2012

Recently, I was sent a couple of bottles of Trivento Reserve 2010 from Argentina. The Syrah was bright garnet with a bouquet of black currant, chocolate, oak-driven toast and pie spice aromas.  Proper acid, tannin, a medium-long finish; time will help. The Cab was intriguing with a dark reddish-purple rim. Closed nose but aeration allowed notes of black currant, pepper, plums and mocha.. Sweet tannins and appropriate acidity balances the fruit, adds body and provides a long, fruit-sweet finish that is completely dry. You may recall from a previous article Trivento is a parcel in Argentina that is owned by Concha y Toro. If you can afford the upgrade go to the Golden Reserve; it is worth the extra. I bought the 2008 Golden Reserve Malbec for $22 and rate it 91 points.

Wine Advocate rated Alta Vista Terroir Selection Malbec 2008, 91 points. Recently it was on sale under $150/case. I sampled some this past spring. My notes: Needs a few in cellar; will drink through 2020. Very dark purple, opens to lavender, pine, black fruit and spice provided by aging in small French oak for 12 months. Good tannic-fruit-acid balance. Nice finish, still closed. Will require work on local wine pal's part.

How about a couple under $10s? Echeverria Unwooded Chardonnay 2011 from Chile just swept the field at a tasting of 172 wines. Peach, pineapple, quince and melon. The palate is both ripe and delicate, with satisfying, persistent flavors repeating. Uncomplicated but clean and refreshing. Food friendly, buy under $9.  Another Chard named Bodegas Esmeralda Tilia 2011 took third. It seems the high-altitude Argentinean Chards are starting to get a following. I think it is price driven. The 2009 which I located was rated 87 by top 3. I say 89, at $120 /case for 12, 750 ml.

Big buck buddy buy of the week: Chas. K Smith Vintners Royal City Syrah 2008 from Washington is off its high. The 2008 was rated 100/100 by WE, 99 RP and 95/100 by Cellar Tracker. It surged from $100 on its 2010 release to a high of $150 last November. Some sanity has returned and it has settled into the $125 range. Sandalwood, garrigue, lavender, bacon, game, dark berries. Super concentrated, huge wine; needs at least six more in cellar.

John Visser recommends Faustino VII Rioja 2010 under $10. To be frank, I have not sampled the wine but I do trust John’s palate and Bodegas Faustino’s rep. John writes,” Nice ripe cherries, some dried berries, tobacco, spice, and a little vanilla. Medium-bodied Rioja with good structure and red fruits lingering on the finish.”

2010 Lockwood Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, a Monterey AVA designated vineyard, is a nice little SB I wish to add to last week's lists. I got it at 88 points and found a case on sale under $120.  Dry and crisp, complex palate, a palette of of lemons, limes, lemongrass, pears, spices and vanilla. Finishes clean and bright.

DeLoach Russian River Zinfandel 2009 is a great gift for Father’s Day. Watch Dad grill up a big porterhouse, or a couple, and wrap his lips around this gob-stopping wine. Buy enough for at least two glasses each. People who enjoy red wine will love it.

Dark wine color, “wild berry, mocha, anise, spice, grilled meat and mushroom flavors. High alcohol adds a wonderful varietal heat to the peppery finish" writes WE and loads up a 93-point score. WS rarely gives De Loach a decent write-up but allowed a 90. They wrote, “Bursts with fresh cherry and vanilla aromas that lead to plush, jammy raspberry and spiced cinnamon flavors. Drink now through 2017." Obviously one of the writers scrambled his tasting notes. It was WS.  Try to remember to spit, my man, when you are tasting lots of wine.

At $25, this great Zin is a perfect complement for grilled meat and barbecue. Give it a try and let me know which writer needs a taste tune-up and some vitamins.

Kuleto Estate Cab 2009, recently reviewed here at 93 points, just came on sale at $28 down from $44. Buy with both hands if you love great Cabs. Will cellar at least through 2025.