Let’s Get Blended

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for the brand.

Winter persists. Spirits falter. Red wine is a necessity to strengthen the soul. Why not a red wine from a warmer climate to ease the pain of the never-ending winter? In Argentina it’s been in the 80s during the day. Tonight I think it is going to be 9 at my house. With needing a warming red in mind, I plucked the 2012 Graffigna Reserve Elevation Red Blend from its comfy resting spot in my basement. The wine has a Diam closure and retails for around $10-$12. It’s a blend of 20% Bonarda, 20% Cabernet Saugivnon, 20% Malbec, 20% Syrah, and 20% Tannat.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) While it warmed us on a winter night, I really wanted it with some grilled meat.

2.) The Syrah really dominated the nose of the wine for me.

3.) The palate was more mixed, with the Merlot and Syrah both really shining for me.

4.) At $10-$12, this is a crowd pleaser for a bargain price.

On the nose I got smoke, meat, pepper, black cherry, and blueberry.  In the mouth I found black cherry, dark fruit, herbs, blueberries, and plums. Overall the wine showed good tannins and left me smacking  my lips a bit.

 

 

WBW #80 – Dry Rosé

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the importers.

As I mentioned last week, Wine Blogging Wednesday is back! Founded by Lenn almost a decade ago (ha! does that make some of the old-time wine bloggers feel even older?), WBW is a monthly wine event hosted by a different wine blogger every month. I’ve hosted a couple times in the past with great success, and we welcome WBW back after a nearly 2 year hiatus thanks to Tim of WineCast. For WBW #80, which I also think is technically the 9th anniversary of WBW, Tim chose Dry Rosé as the theme and simply asked us to review a dry rosé to review.

Easy peasy as far as I am concerned. Who doesn’t like rosé in the summer?  Here in DC, while we’ve been having an unexpectedly mild August (what’s up with that??), it’s still been plenty warm enough to bust out some rosé to beat the humidity, which is generally killer when you live in a swamp. In the summer.

For this milestone WBW, I chose the 2011 Michel Torino Malbec Rose.  It’s a wine from Wildman Selections, clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, has a Nomacorc closure (which I just learned about when I attended Drink Local Wine this spring), and retails for about $15.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) While it has some tannins on the finish, the acidity is there and it is well-balanced.

2.) I enjoyed the dried cherries and herbal notes on this wine.

3.) While we enjoyed this rocking in our Adirondack chairs on the front porch (did I not mention that I turned 70 lately?? ;) ) I thought it would be great with my signature BBQ ribs.

4.) I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Malbec Rosé before, but I’m intrigued and would definitely try another.

On the nose I got juicy raspberries, dried cherries, and herbal notes. In the mouth I found cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and herbs. Overall, the wine struck me as light, bright, dry, and refreshing with good acidity that made it perfect for a hot day.

Many thanks to Tim for hosting, and, as always, a tip of the hat to our founder Lenn!

 

 

Bargain Basement

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from F. Wildman.

I find Torrontes to be a love it or hate it kind of grape. I lean towards loving it, but at times it can have an off-putting “lemon pledge” quality to the nose. Thankfully that was not the case here. We opened up the 2009 Trapiche Torrontes for porch sipping the other night. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume , and retails for around $8.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Price + quality = total bargain.

2.) Clearly this wine was designed with the swampish DC summers in mind.

3.) It had a ton going on for the price point.

4.) Lots of interesting, value wines are coming out of Argentina these days.

On the nose I found flowers, honey, lemon, pineapple, and tropical notes.  In the mouth I got apple, yellow apple, pineapple, lemon, citrus, honeysuckle, spice, and an almost peppery note. Good acidity kept all the fruit flavors in checking, making the wine refreshing and interesting.

 

 

Another Winner

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample in order to participate in a Taste Live Event.

Here’s a Torrontes that meets all the characteristics I want when I have a bottle of it. Lovely nose, good acidity, great citrus flavors, and more. And a decent price point. Can’t beat that. The 2009 Crios Torrontes was probably my favorite wine from this tasting. My mom even loved it and kept asking for more and she’s not a wine drinker at all. The wine clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure and retails for around $13.

On the nose I got lots of lemon. In fact, I wrote in my notes “lemon lemon lemon.” I also got honeysuckle, honey, and grapefruit. In the mouth I found lots of grapefruit, lemon, orange blossom, orange rind, and white pepper. The wine had some heft on the palate giving it good structure and body.

Last Argentinian

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live Event

One step closer to being caught up with my tasting notes! I can say with almost 100% certainty that I had never had a Viognier from Argentina prior to this event. I love Viognier though, so it definitely piqued my interest. I usually don’t go for oak on my Viognier since I find Viognier to have such a wonderful aroma on its own and typically oak will obliterate that, but here with the 2009 Cueva de los manos Reserva Viognier, the oak was used lightly and didn’t interfere at all with the characteristics I love about Viognier. The wine had a screw cap and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found pear, flowers, smoky notes, honey, oak that quickly blew off, and pineapple. In the mouth I got nice pear flavors, honey, pineapple, tropical notes, and more honey on the finish. Overall the wine had great acidity and the oak was well integrated and didn’t cover up the true flavors and aromas of the grape.

I liked this one

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live event.

Here’s a wine from this tasting I will recommend wholeheartedly. The 2009 Crios Malbec Rose. I found this wine to be quite interesting, retailing at a good price point, and definitely something I would personally purchase. The Crios clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and retails for around $12.

The nose of the wine smelled slightly meaty to me (not a bad thing, I promise) and looked like melted watermelon. What an awesome color. On the nose I found berry, cherry, spice, white pepper, and vanilla. In the mouth I got strawberries, ripe cherries, very ripe red fruit, and spice. It was juicy with good acidity and struck me as fantastic for the meltingly hot weather I tasted it in.

Still in South America

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live Event

I don’t know that I had ever had an Argentinian Chardonnay prior to this tasting event. I’m not seeing any in my previous tasting notes, so I’m guessing the answer is no. This event provided the opportunity to taste a couple. Next up was the 2009 Salentein Chardonnay. It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for around $18.

My first thought here was that it smelled like candied ginger. If you like ginger, this is a good thing. I do not. Otherwise I found spice, oak, lemon, pear, and almost some pepper notes. In the mouth I found spiced apple, lemon, spiced pear, and a lemon note on the finish. I found this to be a very spicy chardonnay overall.

More from Argentina

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample in order to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live Event.

Same disclaimer as the last wine from this tasting….I’m just behind on writing up my notes. Torrontes is a wine that I have a love/hate relationship with. When it’s done right, I find Torrontes to be a light, perfumey, tropical wine that delights me for a hot summer afternoon. When it goes bad though, thoughts of lemon Pledge dance in my head and I have trouble getting my head past the nose to taste it.  Thankfully, the 2009 Terrazas had a lovely nose! It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and retails for around $18.

On the nose I got honeysuckle, white flowers, tropical notes, honey, an sweet grapefruit. In the mouth this showed as grapefruit all the way for me. I also found a little floral aftertaste with orange zest on the finish that lent some bitterness to the finish. I’d be hesitant to pay $18 for this, but if it were in the $10 range I’d go for it.

Cleaning Up Old Notes

*Disclaimer: I received this wine in order to participate in a Taste Live event.

I’m still digging back in the archives to catch up on wines I never got around to telling you about when my posting slowed down last year.  I tasted this bottle during a Wines of Argentina Twitter Taste Live event towards the end of August last year. Yikes. Way behind on this one. I should be caught up around here pretty quickly now that I’m publishing 4-5 posts a week again. I’d push out more posts but I’m still suffering from sleep deprivation…the Little Wino doesn’t seem to understand how nice sleep is! The 2008 Valentin Chardonnay was one of the wines in the tasting line up. It clocked in at 13.7% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails somewhere around $14.

On the nose I found oak, a touch of butter, toast, spice, apple, clove, pear, and tropical notes. In the mouth I got apple, lots of pear, pineapple, spice, green apple, slight nutty notes, and oak. This was too oaky and buttery for me.

Not my favorite

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Gallo Family Wines

We pulled a 2008 Alamos Malbec from Argentina out of the basement the other night. It retails for about $13, clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and had a Diam closure. On first sniff I was turned off by this wine. It smelled overly sweet and what people often call “spoofy.” I got sweetened black fruit, sweet oak, sweet berries, chocolate, and pepper. The nose was so sweet smelling. I should come up with a better descriptor, but really, sweet is all I have to offer. In the mouth the fruit showed a bit tarter, but not much. Blackberry, black cherry, and oak are all I got on the palate. I found it to be simple and too sweet for my taste. NMS.

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