Bodega Norton Malbec Reserva

Bodega Norton Malbec ReservaWhile the roots of Bodega Norton go back to 1895, it’s seen a lot of changes over the past 20-some years. It was bought by Austrian businessman Gernot Langes-Swarovski in 1989 and has seen a lot of investment since then to increase the quality and quantity of wine they produce.  In 2006 they were named one of the top wineries in the world by Wine Spectator magazine, a testament to the work they had done over recent years.
Norton produces a number of different lines of wine and this malbec is from their Reserva line, which is a step up from their entry-level wines but certainly not the most expensive wine they produce.
A question some readers might have, with this review going up right previous to Thanksgiving, is “can I supply a malbec with Thanksgiving dinner?”  And the answer is sure!  Why not?! Read more

Pascual Toso Malbec

Pascual Toso MalbecWith a description going back to 1890, Pascual Toso is one of the oldest wineries in Argentina.  But similar to many of the older wineries in Argentina, they’ve seen a lot of progression and development in the past ten years or so.  They have a link different lines of wine, including an Estate line and a Reserve line.  The Estate line wines are their entry-level offering, while the Reserve is a step up in fee.  This wine is from the Estate line.
This is one of those wines that was OK, but didn’t really knock my socks off.  We get that a lot.  Since we generally taste bargain wines, it comes with the territory.  It’s not that it’s a terrible wine.  I certainly wouldn’t turn a glass down.  But at the same time, it didn’t offer much to get excited about. Read more

Ricardo Santos Malbec 2009

Ricardo Santos Malbec 2009Ricardo Santos is one of those brands that doesn’t do a lot of marketing, and doesn’t do a lot of storytelling.  Which means it’s a brand that we just don’t know much about, additional than what the wines tell us.
Last year, we reviewed the 2008 Ricardo Santos malbec and we weren’t blown away by it.  But the 2009 has opened our eyes as to what this producer really has to offer. Read more

Graffigna Centenario Cabernet Sauvignon

Graffigna Centenario Cabernet SauvignonGraffigna Wines is part of the Pernod Ricard portfolio of brands, although it has a rich description as a family-owned winery going back to 1870.
The Centenario line of wines was added in 1970, marking the centennial anniversary of the winery (in case you didn’t figure out the translation.)  And while many consumers are just excited about malbec from Argentina, this wine proves that Argentine cabernet sauvignon is something to get excited about too. Read more

Alma Negra Rosé Malbec

Alma Negra Rosé MalbecIt’s time to place a small twist into these sparkling rosé wines we’ve been reviewing lately.  So, you’re probably familiar with malbec and know it to be a tasty, full red wine with deep, inky-dark affect.  Would you believe that you can get a sparkling rosé wine out of it?  Well, not only can you get a sparkling rosé out of it, but you can get a downright awesome sparkling rosé from it.
Enter, Alma Negra Rosé Malbec.  This wine, like much malbec that we see in the US these days, comes from Mendoza, Argentina.  The winery is relatively young, starting with the 2003 vintage, although the vineyards where the grapes for this wine were grown have been planted for 18-20 years.
Calling this a rosé may even be a stretch.  It looks more like a sparkling colorless, but there is the slightest pink hue to the affect.  Quite incredible to come from a grape normally known for its deep purple colors. Read more

Clos de los Siete Malbec

Clos de los Siete MalbecIf you haven’t seen it yet, my column in the latest issue of Mutineer Magazine is all about malbec.  But it’s not all about 100% malbec, it also includes this malbec blend from Clos de los Siete.
While there are a lot of pure varietal wines that I like, some of the most exciting wines I’ve been tasting recently have been red blends.  This particular one is 57% malbec, 15% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon, 10% syrah and 3% petit verdot.
Clos de los Siete was a project started in 1998 by Michel Rolland, who had worked as a consultant in the Argentine wine business for several years.  The thought was to make European-style wines from Argentina.  Rolland partnered with a number of French producers on the project.  The “Siete” in the name means “seven” as in seven partners made this project.
And while the description is fascinating, we like to get straight to the point here.  How’s the wine?  In a word, it’s outstanding. Read more

Trumpeter Pinot Noir

Trumpeter Pinot NoirWe’ve been reviewing a lot of pinot noir over the past several weeks and we’re getting toward the end of this series.  In the lineup, we’ve only reviewed one from Argentina so far, the Humberto Canale from Patagonia.  And the Trumpeter makes it two, this one appearance from the Mendoza province.
Trumpeter is produced by Rutini Wines, a winery with a description going back to 1885.  Although it was run as a family winery for four generations, it was bought by a group of investors in 1994 and has gone through extensive modernization since then.  The winemaking at Rutini is currently let by Mariano Di Paolo, who joined Rutini back in 1995. Read more

Doña Paula Estate Malbec

Doña Paula Estate MalbecIf you haven’t sampled an Argentine malbec recently, you’re really missing out on a unique wine experience.  It shouldn’t be any surprise that a country that produces so much juice – Argentina currently ranks 5th in global wine production – should be able to produce high quality wines across each fee range.  But the quality of Argentina wines has only been a recent phenomenon, due in large part to their augmented accent on exports.  They now rank right in the rear Chile amongst South American wine exports, and this has had a significant impact on the quality of their wines.
When you reckon of wine from Argentina, you reckon first of malbec.  Malbec is the most prominent vine in cultivation, and some of the best comes from the Mendoza province.  To give you a sense of how vital and prominent the Mendoza province is, consider that Mendoza has more acreage below planting then some additional prominent wine producing nations like New Zealand and Australia.   But quantity doesn’t guarantee quality. Read more