Wines of the Week

It’s pretty interesting when one starts a wine business. I’ve taken more than a few people through this process. First the owners have a few bottles to sell (between 200 to 500 cases). The price is set and off they go. As they grow, they’ve got this and that they need to do. Then there’s inventory and opportunities that arrive. Newly priced bottles are a step. Generally, establish a higher price first and your business grows. Establish a lower price first and the upper business will suffer. These things also happen in cycles, so this is not a completely constant rule, mind you.

Viña Concha y Toro has played its cards well

So, this is a perfect case study

Each of the following wines is a Malbec by 100 percent, that I’ve been able to enjoy (as samples and my own purchases).

  • 2014 Trivento Reserve Malbec ~ Mendoza, Argentina
  • 2014 Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Malbec ~ Palo Santo Vineyard, in Marchigüe within the Conchagua Valley, Chile
  • 2014 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec ~ Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza Argentina
CONSIDER: What takes a wine from one price point to another, as these three examples demonstrate?

Above is our guide to import prices that I’d be more than happy to pay the prices asked to, in order to have the wines. I’ve had a few years of tasting the wines being offered for this review. They’ve each been delicious. and they’re solid; as in being a solid quality, for a best value, wine. If you’re looking for Malbec from South America, and you see any one of these bottles in the South American wine section… and I were standing beside you… I’d say, “Good wine for the money,” and smile; because, I’d be telling it like it is.

  • 2014 Trivento Reserve Malbec ~ $11
    • This is a New World, house Malbec, for sure. Well balanced, tasting oh so right in the plum department. Not complicated, as it goes. Simply delicious Malbec, coming straight at you. Want the essence of it? Here is is.
    • From Mendoza, Argentina, over the Andes Mountain range.
      • The Andes were formed when an earth’s tectonic plate was uplifted as oceanic crust, and it was subducted under another plate (continental crust). To have such a high mountain chain in a subduction zone, like the Andes, tells us its setting is unusual. In essence, this mountain range did NOT happen as a result of volcanic activity. That means the current earth’s terroir in Argentina has very little to do with iron oxide, for instance, (which would come from volcanic activity) and more to do with the ocean floor. (Thinks calcium from sea shells, for instance, versus hot lava for iron oxide.)
    • This is a very general area to say “Argentina,” as you see on the map above. In a wine region, it’s just one block of terroir… in all of the terroir in Argentina. Think California, then find the regionalities. Since Concha y Toro is the largest wine producer from Latin America, this company is their mega-giant wine company. They then have access to the best wine available, and the rest happens at a very affordable price.
    • FROM THE WEB: Trivento’s principal vineyards are located in the Uco Valley, Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo, San Martin and Rivadavia districts of Mendoza – a wine region that exemplifies the advantages of high-altitude viticulture. Here, significant differences between day and night temperatures help minimize the risk of pests and disease. Vineyards that receive barely 8 inches of rainfall a year are irrigated with natural snow melt from the Andes.
  • 2014 Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Malbec ~ $17
    • Chile is coastal, Mendoza is over the Andes, and the side of the mountain where there might be more iron oxide.
    • From Chile’s Palo Santo Vineyard, in Marchigüe within the Conchagua Valley, Chile
    • Now we’re deeper into more specifics, and it has to do with one vineyard ~ the Palo Santo Vineyard.
    • Different terroir, different country rules and regulations… but really, terroir is the name of the game.
  • 2014 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec ~ $21
    • Production Area Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza Argentina
    • FROM Drinking the terroir: Luján de Cuyo is “One of the most prestigious areas in the so-called ‘First Zone’ of Mendoza, located in the upper Mendoza River. It is also one of the oldest and with a long history of production. It is a symbol of the classic Argentine Malbec.” — Up another notch —

And this, my friends, is just the beginning… the earth from which all is sprouted. There are grape growing practices, a team of knowledgeable people guiding each step, very competent staff with management and admin issues, vineyard staff and consultants, winemaking production and consultants, marketing and PR. It’s a long list, but this gives you a 101 Bird’s Eye view of how the same company can offer three very different Malbec flavors, each delicious in its own right and worth the asking price, as different as each one is.