Thursday, October 1, 2009
Cellarmistress Tastes Live--- From Argentina!
Everyone loves a vacation. Everyone dreams of visiting and experiencing a foreign country. One day, my palate decided it needed a vacation. It begged and pleaded to go elsewhere. Away from California. Away from Oregon. Away from Washington. "Waaaaaah! Don't do this to me!" I cried. But in return, it demanded a passport and a round trip ticket out of the U.S. It pleaded its case. It was absolutely, positively correct so I gave in hoping it would shut up and leave me alone...I've been drinking wine for 10 years as of the end of October. That doesn't seem like a long time. But my growth in the wine tasting world has been stunted and I am still on that huge learning curve to better wine knowledge using the slow snail method. I just can't seem to breakaway from the west coast wines I love so much! It took a recent event to make me realize "Variety Is The Spice Of Life."
A couple weeks ago, I participated in a live tasting event on Twitter. Called "TasteLive", this event allows bloggers to sample wines and give their feedback live on Twitter while the winemaker introduces and discusses them. Before you knew it, I was one of several bloggers confirmed for an event with "Wines Of Argentina". Now that is spicy! When I think of Argentina, I dream of beef with chimichurri sauce and big hearty Malbecs. I received four samples and some literature from Bin Ends Wine. I diligently studied my literature as I waited patiently for the big event!
The wines I received were from the Mendoza region of Argentina. Argentina has really been coming alive in the wine news circle as of late! It has kind of surpassed Chile as far as its potential is concerned and I have been really amazed at how good some of these wines can be for the value that they bring to the table!
And so, our tasting began promptly at 8 PM Eastern time that evening with our first winemaker of the evening, Victor Marcantonio and two of his wines, the 2008 Graffigna Centenario Pinot Grigio and the 2006 Graffigna Grand Reserve Malbec. As he explained the terroir and the winemaking techniques, we bloggers dug in sampling the two wines and commenting. I am not a huge Pinot Grigio fan. I feel a lot of them lack personality and character. A boring wine for a boring meal. But when I find one I like, I try to stick with it. The Graffigna was far from boring! It had a floral nose, with a stone fruit (apricots) mid-palate but finished a bit bitter like almonds. It got better as the session went on. Not bad for a $12 bottle. On the other hand, the Malbec had an intense, smoky chocolate flavor and really needed some meat! I mean, like a steak or some brisket--which I didn't happen to have at the moment. So note to self: Be more prepared in the foodie department the next time I do this! I wasn't fair to it, but I liked it better than the Pinot Grigio.
The second half of the session featured Crios Wines with winemaker Susana Balbo. We sampled a 2009 Torrontes and a 2007 Syrah-Bonarda. The Torrontes was to die for! So floral and fruity--white flowers, orange peel, peaches. I could have had the entire bottle in one sitting! I enjoyed every sip of it and am pleased to find out today, I will be sampling it again at a local tasting in a couple weeks! I couldn't be happier! It sells for around $15. It's worth it! The Syrah-Bonarda was also a stand-out! A 50/50 blend, it was redolent with plums and black raspberries. Such a nice wine! Perfect with food, perfect alone. Also around $15.
So, what did I learn from this experience? Don't ever limit yourself. Expand your horizons. Try new things. Life is too short to not do that. I'm reminded of this every day! My palate came home and hugged me! It wants to go on vacation again soon. I think I'm going to let it...Germany perhaps or how about France? The possibilities are endless!