Cara Sur Tinto 2019
This hand-harvested wine is a blend of Bonarda and Barbera from a single vineyard in the Calingasta Valley. The wine predominantly shows notes of strawberry syrup, almond, and cocoa with secondary notes of walnuts, cranberry, and baking spices. The palate is rich with red fruits and strong tannins that lead to a full-bodied finish.
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The 2019 Tinto was a blend of mostly Bonarda and Barbera from grapes picked the first week of March at 13.2% alcohol and with mellow acidity. It fermented in concrete eggs after the full clusters were foot trodden and matured in those eggs for eight months. It has notes of Mediterranean herbs, aniseed, fennel, esparto grass and thyme, less floral and a very juicy palate with fine-grained tannins. 12,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in October 2019.
Cara Sur was formed in 2011 as a partnership between two couples inspired to revive ancestral vines and produce wines from traditional Argentine varietals. Sebastián Zuccardi and Marcela Manini teamed up with Nuria Año Gargiulo and Pancho Burgallo, an avid mountaineering couple who live in Barreal, in the Calingasta Valley of San Juan, north of Mendoza. They produce wines from 80 year old vines of Moscatel, Moscatel Negro, Bonarda Piedmontese, and Criolla Chica (the Argentine iteration of Pais). The vines are Parral trained, a ceiling-trellised system that provides shade and maximizes airflow. The vineyard sits alongside the Los Patos River on stony soil at 1500 meters above sea level. The Cara Sur wines are made in a tiny winery next to Pancho and Nuria’s home where they produce small quantities with minimal intervention. Sebastian and Marcela regularly make the trip north to work alongside Pancho and Nuria. The quartet are producing some of the most unique wines from one of the most underrated microclimates of Argentina. Cara Sur translates to South Face and refers to the more challenging approach to Cerro Mercedario one of Argentina’s tallest peaks, which can be seen from Barreal.
This very hot and arid region produces fine red wines from Bonarda, Syrah and Malbec and solid, fruity white wines from Pinot grigio, Viognier and Chardonnay.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.