Intense purple color with shades of violet. Heady aromas of kirsch, cocoa, mint and exotic woods make you want to keep inhaling deeply. Red and black cherry flavors coat the palate, and the oak tannins frame the intense fruit flavors, keeping them from taking over the place! This Malbec is as good on the second day as it is on the first—if you can avoid finishing it! It is a great example of "cool weather" Malbec—it has all the spicy/fruity character of the grape, but it also has a deeper, more serious side.
Best with meats such as pork (grilled or roasted loin), grilled hamburgers or steaks, and lamb prepared any way you like. Good with goat, too.
We hear a lot about terroir and soils, but there is no substitute for a great team in winemaking, from the guys who prune to those who clean the barrels. Mariano di Paola has known this for decades, and as one of Mendoza's "Deans of Winemaking", he has built a long history of collaboration.
If you've met Mariano, you know that his greeting is like a big bear hug. If you work for him, you know that this hug extends to his every day dealings. Mariano makes sure his team enjoys lunch with him every day, including regular tastings of his high-end wines, and he makes sure they have wine for their homes at the end of every month. After all, they’re the ones who help make it happen! His Christmas parties are legendary and include everyone’s extended families (up to 400 people some years!). Take the expertise and experience of a great winemaker (Ma = Mariano) who sources the best possible grapes in Mendoza, wrap them around dedicated people (pe = people), and you’ve got incredible ma-pe-ma wines.
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Now fifth in the world for wine production, Argentina is catching up in the quality wine sector. A long time wine producer, Argentina used to make wine in order to drink it, not export it. And so the wines produced were quaffable and rustic and made for the local's everyday dinner. Yet it's hard not to get caught up in the wine market of the world and some winemakers decided it was time for Argentina to show their stuff. Better winemaking technology was brought in, new winemaking techniques were learned and good viticulture practices flourished. The result? World-class wines with unique style and variety.
Unlike its Chilean neighbor, Argentina's vineyards are spread out around the country. The best known region is Mendoza, almost parallel to Santiago to the west. Mendoza contains the sub-regions of Maipu (pronounced MY-pu) and San Rafael. Grape-wise, the most important white is Chardonnay, making wine similar to California's style on the variety. Another fun white grape to try is Torrontes. Almost only grown in Argentina, Torrontes makes wines that are crisp, aromatic and easy-drinking. Some of the best versions of this wine come from the northern region of Salta, with very high altitude vineyards. As for the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is the main grape for many wines leaving the country, but Malbec, the grape Argentinians like to call their own, makes very distinctive wines that are structured, dense and velvety. Many more varieties happily grow in the country, but for export, and consistent quality, these are the primary grapes.
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
Chile & Argentina are the regions producing the most wine coming out of the continent. The wines from this area are good value with a distinctive taste. They create new world wines with old world character.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.