Just got back from an incredible trip that I advise all you wine lovers to undertake. I have toured and tasted in many wine regions in the world but I think this was the best for combination of scenery, nice people, food quality, cost and last but not least, the quality of the wines. We flew from Santiago, Chile right over the Andes to Mendoza (pronounced "mendossa")
as seen above. There are two wine regions close to Mendoza city, the beautiful Uco Valley and the older wine producing areas of Lujan de Cuyo, Agrelo, Maipu and Barrancas.
It took exactly 90 minutes after arrival in Mendoza to find to best malbec we have ever tasted - the Familia Cassone, Obra Prima, Lujan de Cuyo, Malbec 2003
was an inky, intense, blow us away, "wow" effort, and we were told that the 2002 was even better. Just don't expect to find this and many of the other blockbusters we tasted this week in your local neighbourhood wine store!!
We then sampled a 5 flight malbec tasting at a wine bar, all were good. Then I had the best Cabernet Sauvignon I can remember having (which may mean I have a short memory or else it was bloody good...), the Vina Cobos, Bramare, Marchiori Vineyard, 2004.
It was a caramelly smelling, rich thick chocolately concoction that was better than a recently drunk Caymus Special Select 2000 according to my tasting companion. Who was I to argue when confronted with such a nectar? This was tasted with the impressive Achaval Ferrer, Finca Bella Vista, Malbec 2004.
Only 125 cases of this monster were made. It tasted of raspberries, cooked plums and marmelade. Brighter than the Bramare, it was also thick and rich with mouth coating tannins. The finish went on forever. These two wines were "WOW".
We then attended a tasting of the Dona Paula
line of wines with their winemaker. Their Sauvingon Blanc, Los Cardos, 2007
was a very forgettable tart effort that was basically a barrel sample. The Chardonnay, Estate, 2006
was barrel fermented in new french oak and was crisp but short and acidic, not very pleasant. The Los Cardos, Syrah, 2006
had no nose to speak of, was very plain, an OK light sipper, no reason to buy it. The Los Cardos, Malbec, 2006
was another mass produced ho-hum effort, also just OK. A huge leap up was their Estate Malbec, 2005.
Refined, full bodied and tannic. "Good". Then we were privileged to be the first to publicly taste their Selection, Tannat-Malbec, 2004
that was even better - fantastic, chewy and full bodied, the fourth "wow" wine of the day.
But wait, we were not over yet! Dinner was at a fantastic bistro called LaSal. Perfectly paired with a filet mignon that simply melted in my mouth was the Altos Los Hormigas, Malbec Reserva, 2005.
A closed nose was followed by a full bodied, tarry, tannic wine that blows the early and mid palate away. It's only fault was that it was a little flat on the finish. Close to being a wow wine!
And then, finally, sleep...