K&L Personal Sommelier Service Online Newsletter - July 2010 Edition
South American Adventures: Interested in discovering new styles of wine from South America? Whether you're on a mission to learn or simply want to develop your palate and discover something new, get started today by creating a customized wine club through the K&L Personal Sommelier Service.
More than Malbec?
Yes. There is more than just Malbec produced Argentina.
Although I don't blame you for asking. Over the last decade, Malbec has risen to the top of the list of celebrity brand exports from Argentina, surpassing Evita, Tango and the Gaucho. From $2 guzzlers to fancy high-end bottles that merit cellar space, North Americans love Argentine Malbec.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of great Malbec produced in Argentina. But just because it’s been your tried-and-true inexpensive Cab alternative for so long doesn’t mean it’s the best or only option. There is a lot more to Argentine wine than Malbec, and a lot more to South America than Argentina - exciting stuff you just might love more.
2008 La Madrid Bonarda Mendoza ($14.99) I’ll let you in on a secret: real Argentines don’t tango, they cumbia, and when they enjoy their tinto with friends and family at a traditional asado dominguero, it’s most likely Bonarda, perhaps poured from a recycled glass bottle refilled from a barrel at the corner market and not a flashy, brand-name Malbec wrapped in tissue. Whether Argentine Bonarda is a descendent of the Piedmontese variety of the same name, or is actually California’s Charbono grape (a majority of sources favor the Californian theory), there is no disputing the fact that the 2008 La Madrid Bonarda is honest, unpretentious, food-friendly table wine. Loaded with black fruit and plum flavors, with subtle earthiness and baking spice notes, this medium-bodied red is a perfect wine for dominguero, complementing the variety of sausage and grilled beef preparations in addition to the numerous other foods involved, from savory emapanadas to desserts slathered with dulce de leche.
2008 In’Ka Carmenere Colchagua ($12.99) Carmenere is to Chile what Malbec is to Argentina: an immigrant varietal from Bordeaux that is better suited to the growing conditions of South American soils than in its French homeland. If you are looking for a tasty example of the Chilean version, this is well worth a try. Deep purple in color, this is a Carmenere with some heft. The nose shows characteristic earthiness, but these aromas are supported by rich black fruit and anise accents, as opposed to the ash and roasted jalapeño so often associated with mass-market Carmenere. The palate is lush and plummy, with medium tannins and good grip. Vanilla and mocha spice add complexity to the finish. This is a hearty wine that would work well with anything grilled—a great alternative to a bolder style of Malbec.
2007 Don Pascual Tannat “Roble” Juanico Uruguay ($16.99) Don Pascual Harriague, an immigrant from France, was the first to introduce Tannat to Uruguayan soils in 1870, and this family-run domaine continues to lead the pack in quality Tannat production today. Despite its purple-hued, Madiran-esque robe, this is fruity, generous, modern Tannat, worlds apart from its tannic, inaccessible French counterpart. A big brother to the light and fruity “Pueblo del Sol,” the Roble sees 12 months in barrel and exhibits a wide array of aromas and flavors, from black plum, cassis and fig to espresso bean and graphite. Here we have a great example of what Tannat produced in the cool, maritime climate of Juanico can be: a world-class red wine that is balanced and complex, showing more robust fruit character and smoother tannins than the French iteration, but still substantial enough to hold its own at table.
Personal Sommelier Service | Tastings
Want more? For additional recommendations for other exciting South American wines, write to Sommelier@klwines.com