Saturday, April 10, 2010

More Mendoza

Continuing my visits to Uco Valley vineyards brings me to Altus, just outside the town of Tupungato (which itself is shadowed by the 22,000 foot Tupungato volcano). Tempranillo? the Argentines do well with French malbec and cabernet, Italian bonarda, so I thought why not Spanish tempranillo?. The Altus, Tempranillo, 2006 comes from a 1200 meter vineyard of 25 year old plants. Unfortunately the bottle I got had a strong sulfur nose (more fart than match-strike). Thankfully it tastes better, but I still left it for the next day as that nose was really off-putting. The next day the sulfur had largely blown off, leaving a meaty, plummy dark full bodied wine that still had a little funkiness going on. It scores as an "OK" wine, but maybe I got a bad bottle. 38 pesos.
Closer to the Uco town of Tunuyan is a beautiful little lodge called Postales del Plata. They even have a little 6 year old 5 acre malbec vineyard on the property, so when you have dinner there, it seems only right to drink their wine. You probably won't see it anywhere else anyway! Their 2007 Malbec has a spiced, floral, blueberry nose. Medium bodied, bright boysenberry and pomegranate, good bite and a fair finish - this is a good boutique wine (5,000 bottles/year) and you can see how a small, well run property can pump out good wine at a fair price in this region. 40 pesos.

Further up north in the Province of Mendoza comes the Altavista, Premium Malbec, 2007. A dark wine with blackberries and blueberries on the nose. Full bodied yet very approachable - slick, smooth, red and blue fruits, no hard edges, well made. Excellent with Bife Chorizo (a monster 3 inch thick grass fed beef steak from the pampas). 44 pesos/half bottle.
I finished this little trip sitting on the sidewalk terrasse in the downtown Mendoza restaurant La Florencia eating the best ribs I have ever had - charcoal grilled, meaty and tasty, and the Argentines put no gloopy syrupy sauce on these babies - they don't need anything else! The wine I was matched with was the Finca La Linda, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008. Only 6/10 for colour (this was the lightest wine of the week) it was a more elegant style of new world wine. Raw beef and crushed blueberry nose, it was medium bodied, spice driven with subtle blackberries. Very smooth and polished, but lacked tannic strength and that robustness I was looking for to chew through the pork ribs. A good lunch wine, though. 38 pesos/half bottle.


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