I was walking through the wine section at H.E.B, our local supermarket looking at the selection of wines from South America and making selections to have over the New Years weekend when I noticed this “Barrel Select” with a very reasonable $10 and some change. I had to bring it home and give it a try. I must say I am very pleased. I had this as a late night wine and not paired with any food and it was just as if I would have had it with beef, or lamb.
Hailing from Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. The Norton Barrel Select Malbec is a great tasting wine that is well rated by critics and a good value with retail prices between $10 to $15.
A deep red center that owns into violet hues along the rim. To the nose aromas of ripe red fruits, cassis and pepper. Sweet on the tongue, wonderfully balanced tannins with spicy flavors.
This is a departure from my Malbec fascination. Today I am tasting the Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Grown in the Casablanca Valley is located about 17 away from the coast and west from Santiago, Chile. I will be adding this to my list of favorite wine from South America. This Cabernet Sauvignon is bold but not over powering. It is ideal for pastas with red sauces, marinated pork and grilled beef.
Looking at the wine in the glass you see a deep red purple color, almost like an inky red or purple used in oil paints. This Cabernet has an intense aroma with spicy notes of rosemary, chocolate and some peppers. The nose will also pick up the oak. A great taste from a concentration of ripened red fruit, blue berries and black currant. Tannins are round and well developed on the mid palate. All of this provides for a great mouth feel and a long-lasting finish.
One of the special things about this wine is that it is not only organic, but may be the “greenest” wine I have tried. The winery is certified organic by a number of organizations from countries around the world including the United States and Germany as well as their home organization in Chile. They have a biodynamic vision where the farms will become self-sufficient so that plants, soil animals and humans in a closed self-nourishing system. They protect 700 acres of native vegetation in the vineyards and as a buffer to help ensure the biodiversity of the area. They understand that animals, birds and even insects are an important part of the eco system to ensure a healthy environment. Another important part of the environmental effort are the bottles. Each one is 14% lighter than typical wine bottles. This reduction in weight save thousands of gallons of fuel every year and thus reduces shipping cost and saves us all money and makes a really good win even more affordable. A surprise for me, was learning that the water treatment plant for the winery is a state of the art biologic process. This process uses plants to process waste water to irrigate the lawns and vegetable gardens around the property. The effort that Lapostolle has put into conserving energy is so impressive that it is really hard to describe. The winery is built into the side of a hill to take advantage in savings for cool storage and to allow gravity and natural convection to help cool the building and circulate air.
This is a great wine. It is affordable at about $18 to $20 a bottle. This makes it great for those occasions when you need t take wine to a party or when you want something bold, but not overly so for that special meal you are preparing.
If you have read this blog for any length of time you know I have a real addiction for the wines of South America especially the Malbecs. This group of wines tends to be a good value for the price. Malbecs are produced in Argentina, Chile and Peru (which I recently discovered for the first time). Malbec was produced first in France of course and are found primarily in Southwest France. The think skin of thirds grape requires more sun to ripen then other red varieties. Transported to South America in 1994, it has thrived.
The South American Malbecs, at least to me tend to be rougher around the edges than the Malbec produced in France. I personally like that. Don’t get me wrong, the French Malbec is good, it just comes across as more refined and smother than the Malbecs from Argentina, Chile and especially Peru.
The latest bottle I open is Trapiche Malbec 2015 from the Mendoza region of Argentina. You are presented with a glass that has a deep purpose core that is very slightly translucent and an edge that is light violet color This wine pleases the nose with the aromas of cherries, black plums, pepper and licorice. On the palate, you get strong taste of cassis fruit and crushed black fruit like cherries and blackberries. Notes of huckleberry and vanilla bean are also present. On the midpalate there is a great balance of solid fruit with good acidity and ripe tannins. All of that is backed up by nits of cassis again and oak. The wine finishes with taste of fleshy fruit and a concentration of herbs and minerals that linger for a long finish.
Trapich is one of the largest and oldest producers of wine. Trapiche makes inexpensive and delicious wines. The malbec can be found for less than $10 is most places that carry wine.
This Malbec is different. It is produced at vineyards located in the desert coast of Peru along the right margin of Cañete River, 3.5 km from the coastline. Sandy loan soils, alluvial subsoil with gravel and boulder. Desert, seashore weather with sunny summers tempered by the proximity of the sea. Sea breeze provides mineral notes and complexity to wines. Gravity irrigation, harvest is carried out by hand. It comes across as less refined than it Argentine brothers. Lots of spices like pepper and fruits such as cherry and black current. This wine is very complex. Intense ruby red color. A rich bouquet of blackcurrant, chocolate and black cherry aromas. In the mouth, leather and liquorice flavors dominate supported by a backbone of robust yet supple tannins leading to a long lingering finish.
The Brennan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is a medium bodied red wine with intense notes of ripe black berries, black currants, and simple light notes on the finish of fresh picked blue berries; followed by a classic tannic grip that lends Cabernet Sauvignon to pair perfectly with rib-eye steak and hearty stews. The Cabernet Sauvignon has a great ruby red color. This wine has a great mouth feel with a long, lingering finish. This wine is aged for 12 months in French and American barrels. The wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13 %Ruby Cabernet, 5% Syrah and 2% Malbec. The total production was 884 cases.
By the numbers:
The wine maker’s website says this Cabernet Sauvignon retails for $28, however I paid about $17.00 at H.E.B here in Texas.
This Pinot Noir comes from a vineyard planted from 3 Dijon clones. These clones have created a flavor profile of well-balanced acidity bringing out complex flavors. The bouquet of lavender and wild strawberry blossoms are pleasant and give an indication that the fruit will dominate the palate. On the palate the wild strawberries, raspberries are primary but not overwhelming. Hints of cola back up those flavors. As the wine finishes white pepper and earthy minerals flavors come out.
Born in the central coast of California this estate has been growing wine grapes since the 1850’s. The winery and vineyard are located in the Cienega Valley Appellation. The 2013 Pinot Noir was aged for 14 months in French oak barrels.
I recommend serving this wine with grilles burgers or a hearty pasty and meat sauce dish.
This Malbec is a deep ruby red wine produced from hand-harvested grapes in the Mendoza Region of Argentina. The Portillo Malbec presents a bouquet rich with the fruit tones of blackberries and plums. The flavors of red current, black cherry are backed up by round tannins with a finish of long notes of cinnamon, cloves and pepper.
After the stemming process , the grapes are placed in stainless steel tanks where the cold maceration takes place. Fermentation last for ten to fifteen days after which the wine is racked by gravity and aged in stainless steel tanks.
In 2011 the Portillo Malbec became the Malbec to be produces with a carbon footprint of ZERO! This status was certified by the Carbon trust.
Serve Portillo Malbec with grilled steak, hearty roast and rich sauces.
By the Numbers:
RS: 2.30 g/l