Friday, November 20, 2009

Report from ... Celebrate Argentina – November 10, 2009

Before I kick off this review of the most recent Argentina tasting to be held in Toronto, I thought I would offer a few words of advice to those wineries “seeking representation” here in Ontario: Stop talking to your buddy, get off the phone and pay attention to who’s in front of you. There were 5 wineries from this South American country who were listed as ‘seeking’ and plenty of agents doing some seeking of their own, looking for the next big wine for the Ontario market (or at least something good to add to their portfolio); but more often then not those ‘seeking’ were too busy gabbing with their fellow countrymen to pay attention to those standing in front of them … keep doing that and you’ll be ‘seeking representation’ for quite some time to come. Now, shut up and pour the wine.

Alright, enough advice for wineries trying to crack into Canada’s largest market; time for my advice as to which Argentinean wines you should be looking for next time you make that trek to the liquor store – there are plenty of good Argentine wines at good prices and many of them involve the Malbec grape.

Nothing But Malbec …
The 4½ Star Club (out of 5) – good value, excellent wine:
Chakana Reserva Malbec 2008 ($16.95)
Don Nicanor Malbec 2007 ($17.95)
Los Clop Reserva Malbec 2006 ($16.95)

The 4 Star Club (out of 5) – good value, very good wine:
Nieto Senetiner Malbec Reserva ($11.95)

The Other Grapes …
Navarro Correas Allegoria Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 ($19.95) – a limited edition grand reserva; big red cherries and other red berried with chocolate, blackberries and hints of leather, through all that it remains very juicy. (****½)

Andeluna Grand Reserve Pasionado 2004 ($45.95) – a blend of Malbec, Merlot and the Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc; sweet aromas that ease onto the palate: vanilla, oak, white pepper, raspberry, very smooth with hints of chocolate on the finish. (****½)

Pascual Toro Merlot 2007 ($12.95) – juicy blackberries, black currants, vanilla and cinnamon – good value. (****)

Xumek Zonda Chardonnay-Viognier ($14.99) – nice fruit flavours tropically nuances with lots of juicy pineapple. (****)

Xumek Syrah 2008 ($24.99) – Syrah is the signature of this winery; leathery black fruit and smoky, also has a nice mineral note. (****)

Familia Schroeder Saurus Patagonia Select Pinot Noir 2007 ($18.95) – earthy, good red and black fruit mix with a nice spiciness, good tannins, delicate use of oak, ripe and delicious; one of the best Pinot Noirs I have had from Argentina, price very attractively for such a good bottle of Pinot Noir. (****½)

Chakana Yaguarete Collection Bonarda 2009 ($13.95) – an absolute steal for this big-on-cherry-with-a-touch-of-floral wine made from Argentina’s other popular grape (there, and hopefully soon here). Clean, tasty, full of fruit and coming to a Vintages near you in March or April of 2010, so keep your eyes and ears open for it … this one is quite the find, and you’ll thank me for it. (****½)

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