Tierra Divina Terra Rosa Malbec 2003
Malbec from Argentina, South America
Harvested from ancient vines on the slopes of the Andes Mountains, comes Terra Rosa Malbec: a glass-staining wine with a lovely and exotically perfumed nose. Patrick Campbell, owner/winemaker, heads down to Argentina five times per year to oversee vineyard management and to control harvest and fermentation activities. After the fermentations are finished, the wine is brought up to our California winery (Laurel Glen) by ship in temperature-controlled 24,000 liter stainless steel containers to age in French and European oak barrels for 15 months.
Terra Rosa Malbec is a BIG and juicy mouthful of wine, with a lashing of very sexy oak. We didn't set out to make this vintage in such a crowd-pleasing style: the vintage dictated the result, and it is really delicious.at once rich and powerful and with the delicate, long finish which the best malbecs display! The year was warm, and trouble-free. No rot, no hail, just nice warm days with the typically quite cool evenings. These conditions resulted in full ripening at higher than normal sugars, while still maintaining balance and finesse.
Tierra Divina Winery
Tierra Divina is owned by Patrick Campbell, the founder and former owner of Laurel Glen. Known for its elegance and age-worthiness, Laurel Glen is a Sonoma Mountain cabernet that has been acclaimed as far back as the early 1980s. In the mid 90s, decided to Patrick to purchase grapes from the North Coast and make Terra Rosa, designed to be a reasonably-priced alternative to costly cabernets in the market. REDS, an old-vine blend followed suit. With its catch-phrase "A Wine for the People," REDS developed a cult following for its creative marketing which positioned it as an everyday, easy-drinking wine. In the later 90s, Patrick discovered vineyards in Chile that were not being utilized to their full potential; and by 1997 he had moved the entire Terra Rosa line to Mendoza where hebecame the first North American producer to make wine in Argentina.
Patrick majored in English, got a masters degree in Theology at Harvard then played viola in several orchestras in Sonoma County (more recently, he has seen the light and now performs bluegrass on the fidlde). While studying Buddhism and living at the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, he found his calling in viticulture. A self-proclaimed "vineyard guy," Patrick oversees the farming of every Tierra Divina vineyard in Lodi and Argentina. He believes that great wines start in heritage (aka old-vine) vineyards. Heritage vines' complex root structures spread broadly to collect all the micro-elements the soil can provide and they naturally produce lower yields, lending higher-concentrations of flavor in the wines. Starting with a great vineyard then focusing on proper management minimizes the need for "fixing" or manipulating in the winery. Tierra Divina wines are honest and vineyard-specific wines that exhibit integrity and depth.
These days, Tierra Divina vineyards are found exclusively in Lodi, the "Zinfandel Capital of the World," and Mendoza, Argentina where malbecs are the acclaimed varietal. REDS, an old-vine zinfandel blend and ZaZin, are known for being balanced, elegant wines in contrast to many highly-extracted, over-the-top Lodi zins. Terra Rosa, Tierra Divina and Vale la Pena are vineyard-specific, varietally-correct, 100% malbecs. They tend to be less oaky and more balanced than their Mendoza counterparts. Patrick flies to Argentina 5 to 6 times per year to sustainably farm the heritage vineyards in the foothills of the Andes mountains. He makes the wine in Argentina, then ships it up in containers where he barrel-ages and bottles it in Sonoma County.
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(ahr-jen-TEE-nah) 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.
Notable Facts 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.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.