Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ahhh...to be in the South

We are getting more and more south american wines to try up here in the cold far north, but much moreso in Ontario than Quebec. After a buying spree I got to try some fresh vintages and some wines I have never had before. "South American wines" usually translates into Chile and Argentina (there are very few Uruguayan wines sold up here). And if you believe the wine press, Argentina is beginning to outstrip Chile for both quality and potential. Soooo..., lets start with a trio of inexpensive wines that promised to be half decent. The Finca El Retiro, Syrah, 2004 is from Mendoza, Argentinas largest viticultural region. I have had the 2001 version before and found it a full blown bargain. The 2004 is therefore disappointing - it is just not as good. Light on the nose, middleweight on the palate, pleasant with slightly spicy berry fruit, it is a good "monday night wine". Definitely not "rich, great depth, great length" as it says on the back label. An OK wine, questionable value at $13. Another Argentinian, the Trapiche, Broquel, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 is also quite ambitious on it's label: "an ultra-premium wine; powerful; great concentration". It's a good wine, worth the money, and better than the Finca El Retiro. The Montes, Limited Selection, Cab(70%)-Carmenere(30%), Alpalta, 2005 is from Chile and was again a step up from the 1st two wines. This one is more full bodied, richer, a good wine to savour. A "good" wine, good value at $15.
Last up tonight is the wine that disappointed the most...and this is because the Wine Spectator, a publication I respect, gave it 90 points...this should equate into a "wow" wine all things being equal. I was so looking forward to the Norton, Malbec Reserva, Mendoza, 2004 that I bought a case untasted, expecting that thick, rich, fig like wine that they described. I like figs, but this wine tasted nothing like a fig; it was closed on the nose, and on initial tasting it was quite ordinary. Sure it's dense, but it's also tight and not what I would call rich. It does better with decanting, indicating that maybe it is too young and needs a few years to smooth out. But it will never be a "wow" wine. I've got enough bottles that I'll let you know how it does with time. The verdict: an "okay" wine. Value: Crap at $20 a bottle.
The search for my first "wow" wine from South America continues....


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home