Argentina’s been producing wines as far back as the 1500s, when the Conquistadores produced wine for mass. By the mid to the end of the 1800s, a large surge of immigration of Italians to Argentina occurred, impacting the wine industry once again. By the late 1980s, Argentina experinced its final wine industry Renaissance.
The land is very diverse. Favored by optimum soil and weather conditions, the grape vines began an accelerated growth, especially in the regions nearby the Andes.
A proper temperature, long sun exposure sessions, low rainfall levels and humidity, and no strong winds together with exceptional soils, created the best ecological environment for the production of top quality grapes.
I got a chance to experience some of what Argentina has to offer the wine industry. I found their wines to be rich and flavorful, very food friendly offerings. I would pair these Malbec wines with hearty comfort foods of the season; slow cooked pot roast with red potatoes and carrots or my very special meatloaf. I make it with ground turkey and season it with sweet barbecue sauce to start, then serve it with roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Always a hit with the crowd.
Colome, 2003 Reserve Malbec | Salta, $90.00 ~ Aromas of blueberry jam and dark chocolate envelop the senses. Added notes of toasty vanilla oak and dried figs round out the bouquet. Palate features bright acid, mulberry flavors, and a hint of sourdough bread. Slightly medicinal with a cherry cobbler finish.
La Riojana – Raza Negra, 2006 Argentina Premium Malbec | La Rioja, $50.00 ~ Bright fruity nose of cranberries, added notes of leather and sweet tobacco leaf. Rich palate opens with ripe plums. Good tannins and fairly well balanced. Mid-palate displays cranberry compote and a touch of cedar spice. Long and lingering finish of sweet vanilla and blueberry.
Las Moras – Mora Negra, 2005 | San Juan [70% Malbec, 30% Boyarda, related to Charbono] $16.00 ~ Bouquet of fresh blackberry and milk chocolate lead way to sweet oak aromas and a touch of cardamom. Lush mouthfeel showcases blueberry jam flavors, with added essence of caramel. Mid-palate offers sweet basil. Nice tannin structure and a velvety, gentle, and long finish.
Dominio del Plata – Nostros 2005 Malbec | Mendoza, $88.00 ~ Aromas of black currant and espresso. A sweet and smoky nature in the nose. Palate of plum and vanilla, good tannins. More black currant in the finish with added coffee bean.
Catena Zapata – Catena Alta 2005 Malbec | Mendoza, $40.00 ~ Boysenberry jam opens the bouquet that evolves into cedar and clove spice with added cocoa on the back of the bouquet. Rich palate of mulberry, very smooth. Good tannins, a bright fruit forward wine. Palate finishes long with wild raspberries and sweet oak flavors.
Bodega Noemia – J. Alberto, 2006 Malbec, $45.00 ~ Intense aromas of ripe raspberry and mint, with added toasty oak. End of bouquet displays dried cranberry and holiday spice. Palate follows nose with more sweet holiday spices. Plummy, juicy, and toasty oak are prevalent on the palate. Huge mouthfeel, tannins abound. A sweet French bread quality on the finish.