Browsing the archives for the Argentina tag

Varietal Voyage No.14 – 2005 Carlos Pulenta “Tomero” Cabernet Sauvignon

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Varietal Voyage

Varietal Voyage No. 14 is another selection from the Thief Wine Shop.  This time we’re exploring an affordable cabernet sauvignon from the high-altitude vineyards of Argentina. The 2005 Tomero Cabernet Sauvignon is just one of the many offerings from Carlos Pulenta Wines.   If you get a chance, try their Vistalba wines, blends of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and a grape called “bonarda.”

Tomero Cabernet Sauvignon gets its start in the upper Uco Valley, 80 miles southeast of Mendoza, in a vineyard called Finca Los Alamos. Carlos Pulenta and his family have been growing grapes here for over thirty years.  This location is excellent for growing cabernet.  The high altitude (1,200 meters above sea level), long sun exposures, sandy/rocky soils, and constant mountain breezes work together to create concentrated wines with intense flavors.  One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in this tough environment is getting access to water.  The only real source of water is the snow and ice that falls in the Andes mountains.  As  the ice melts, it eventually makes its way down into the valleys below.  During the 1800′s, as farms and vineyards grew larger, there became a need to control the limited supply of water.  The tomero or “water supplier” was the person in charge of  regulating the precious supply of water by opening and closing flood gates that fed the fields.  Even though technology has taken control over most of the irrigation process, the tomero still stands as a symbol of Argentina’s agricultural history.

That’s enough history!  All in all, this is another good, affordable cabernet.  It has many of the characteristics of an Argentine malbec, with its medium body and ample amounts of ripe fruit and jammy flavors.  The nose shows spicy aromas of blackberries, currants, with juicy flavors of black cherries, followed up by layers of pepper and cedar.  The tannins were soft, almost non-existent; something I didn’t expect from such a young cabernet.  The finish is quick and clean leaving you with the faintest hints of cocoa.

2005 Carlos Pulenta “Tomero” Cabernet Sauvignon ($13)

Varietal Voyage – See how it started…

2003 Monte Cinco Malbec

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Tasting Note

For this Halloween, Sue and I decided to hibernate and watch scary movies while the neighbors braved the cold winds and the marauding masses of masked munchkins! To eswage our guilt we opened the last bottle of Malbec in our cellar!

I bought this bottle from David Breen at a tasting sometime last year. At the time, I didn’t know too much about the wine or the producer. What I did know, was that it was very good!

After doing a little research, I found that Michael Schachner at Wine Enthusiast Magazine reviewed this wine in November 2004 and gave it a 91 point rating. I also discovered that one of the importers, Cienega Imports, is also run by the owners of DeRose Vineyards, the maker of one of my favorite Zinfandels!

The Monte Cinco Vineyard was founded by the Italian winemaker Don Pedro Bertona in the later 1890′s. The Bertona family settled in Luján de Cuyo, near Mendoza, Argentina and has been making fine wines there ever since.

Monte Cinco’s vineyards are located high in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The stony soils and continental climate (hot days and cool nights) work together to help produce exceptional fruit with just the right balance of ripeness and acidity. The winemakers ferment the juice in stainless steel to help retain the fruit character of the grapes. They then age the wine in French and American oak to add a level of complexity.

Sue and I found this to be a very good Malbec. The dark reddish-purple color followed with aromas of violets and blueberries. The slightly sweet flavors mirrored the aromas and carried through with a spicy, cocoa finish. I don’t normally subscribe to the “official” rating schemes for wines, but I have to agree with the Wine Enthusiast on this one!

2003 Monte Cinco Malbec ($29)

Maipe Malbec 2007

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Tasting Note

This little Argentine beauty was a pleasant surprise. Its deep purple color revealed fruity aromas with rich juicy dark fruits and a hint of cocoa. For a minute it felt like I was smelling a German Black Forest Cherry Torte! The rich cherry and plum flavors showed an almost creamy texture (perhaps some malolactic fermentation) with well rounded tannins. Paired well with the leftover steak from Saturday! Great wine at a very affordable price. Thank you Mendoza!

Maipe Malbec 2007 ($9)

  • 100% Malbec manually harvested from 35 y/o vines
  • From Agrelo and Luján de Cuyo, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains
  • Vineyard information