Vines of Mendoza was our first stop for tasting in Mendoza Wine Country. Here are some comments from 7 wines we tasted at the Vines of Mendoza. Many thanks to Pablo who helped arrange some appointments at wineries in Mendoza while we were there.
2005 Mairena Bonarda – HE SAYS: This was my first sampling of Bonarda, which is abundantly grown in Argentina. In the past, it was often used to add color in blends of syrah or for inexpensive wines, but with better techniques many winemakers are realizing the potential of this grape. This wine reveals many cranberry flavors. It’s a bit dry and a tad bitter because of the tannins, but it has a good body. 14+
SHE SAYS: I’m so happy to meet a new grape! You are yummy, and you just meet so few new grapes these days.
2005 Cinco Tierras Malbec Clasico – HE SAYS: The Banfi family of wineries owns Cinco Tierras and the Italian influence is present in this Malbec. It is a very smoky wine from the higher toast they use on their barrels. The wine is dry, without big flavors. Not flashy, but well made. 13+
SHE SAYS: Smokey wines are soooo sexy.
2002 Gentile Collins Gran Syrah – HE SAYS: I’m sorry to say, this was the worst syrah I’ve ever tasted. It didn’t even taste like a syrah. It has a port-like smell, but while it’s not sweet, it just had a really odd flavor. I don’t know if that style is intentional or because syrah doesn’t grow well in Argentina, but all I could say was “Ugghh!” 10
SHE SAYS: Lighten up – it’s fine.
2002 Hacienda del Plata Cabernet Sauvignon – HE SAYS: This wine had nice body, berry flavors and a medium amount of acid. It was pretty evenly split between stainless steel, French Oak and American oak. Perfectly drinkable, but not wow. 14
SHE SAYS: Don’t bother me. I’m busy eating this CHEESE! (Vines of Mendoza will serve you extraordinary and memorable cheeses with your wine.)
2005 Pulenta Estate Merlot – HE SAYS: This Merlot was very, very good. It’s well balanced and has a long finish. The wine was fermemented in oak vats and aged in small barrels and was one of the best Merlots I tasted all trip. 15+
SHE SAYS: Oh God, they gave me Proscuitto, too. The wine is all yours, honey.
2006 Bressia Monteagrelo Malbec – HE SAYS: This wine was made by Walter Bressia, who has struck out on his own after making Argentine wines for about 30 years, including for Bodega Vistalba and Viniterra. His winemaking skills are evident in this lovely Malbec, which is a blend from five vineyards and was aged in French oak. It has a great color, good body, nice balance and has a nice soft, smooth finish. The tannins are low, so you’d want to drink it soon. 15+
SHE SAYS: There’s wild boar on my plate, too. You stay busy with that wine. They have given me food from the gods.
2004 Gran Estirpe Malbec (by Clos de Chacras) – HE SAYS: The grapes for this Malbec come from 100-year-old vines in Lunlunta (Maipú) in the Luján de Cuyo area. It has brilliant purple color and a full mouth feel, soft and warm like a warm brie. This Malbec has merlot and cabernet and was one of the best malbecs I tasted. They only produced 6,100 bottles and it has won a few awards, so it is well worth seeking out. The wine is produced by Clos de Chacras, a boutique bodega who we visited in Luján de Cuyo. Really delicious. 16+
SHE SAYS: I’m finished eating. Oooooh – this is a happy wine. Take me to the people who made this wine.