Gouguenheim Malbec

Gouguenheim MalbecI picked up this particular Malbec on a whim one day.  I hadn’t seen it previous to and had never in fact heard of it, but for some wits I chose to give it a shot, and I’m glad I did.
The grapes in the Gouguenheim Malbec were grown in El Vallo Escondido, in the Tupungato Valley, about 70km from the city of Mendoza.  This area is pretty much desert conditions, with 320 days of sun per year and water irrigated in from the Andes Mountains. Read more

Tanguero Malbec

Tanguero MalbecWe taste a lot of different wines for this website and thanks to advances in the equipment of winemaking over the past 20 years, we don’t come across a lot of total clunkers.  There are plenty of wines that aren’t fantastic, plenty that could be better… but most wines we come across don’t have me taking the bottle to the sink to dump it.  But, each now and then we come across one that just doesn’t cut it.  This is one such example.
I came across the Tanguero Malbec at a local wine shop and for a mere $5 I figured it was worth a shot. Read more

Marlena Cabernet Sauvignon

Marlena Cabernet SauvignonIf you’re a Seinfeld fan you probably remember the episode where Kramer wanted to make a cologne that smelled like the beach.  This bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon reminded me of that episode with an fascinating seaweed aroma.  It smells like the beach!  It makes this an fascinating wine to explore, but not a top pick.
It looks to me as though Marlena Wines are produced as a second mark by Tupun winery in Mendoza, Argentina.  They don’t market it that way, but it appears to be the case.  In the US, it’s imported by Marco and Sons and in Canada by Space Brands.
The 2006 Marlena Cabernet Sauvignon looks gorgeous with a rich ruby affect and opaque depth.  It has an fascinating, herbal nose, as I mentioned, with hints of seaweed, violet and eucalyptus.  But the palate is less fascinating, or perhaps less thrilling.  The seaweed theme continues—it’s not terrible, but it’s different.  The fruit is restrained, but once you let the wine open up you’ll find a bit of cherry.  The tannins are set alight, giving it a smooth mouth feel and acid is sufficient.  It’s nearly a excellent wine, but I would have liked more abundant fruit.  I gave it an 84.
The tasting notes they publish cite nuts and green pepper.  I didn’t really find either.  Perhaps they’re tiresome to spin the seaweed characteristic as green pepper because it sounds more appealing.  Who knows?
Wine: Marlena
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2006
Alcohol: 13%
Rating: 84
Fee Paid: $8.99

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Crios Cabernet Sauvignon

Crios Cabernet SauvignonI’ve been told that today is National Cabernet Day.  I’ve also been told that today is Cabernet Day, International Cabernet Day and World Cabernet Day.  Regardless of what you call it, it’s a phony, made-up holiday made by some marketing/PR schmuck in order to get people talking about cabernet sauvignon.  And I’m the sucker who has fallen for this lame stunt.  But hey… I don’t really need an excuse to delight in a tasty cabernet!
Today I’m checking out an Argentine cabernet sauvignon called Crios.  This is a “second mark” from Susana Balbo.  Essentially when she produces her wines, she hand selects which barrels go into her signature, premium wines and the rest goes into Crios, which she calls the “offspring” of her signature wines.  And if this wine is considered the seconds, I can’t imagine how excellent the premium is!Smoky cedar is the most prominent aroma from this cabernet, underneath that cedar aroma it shows some blackberry and black currant.  The palate brings lush blackberry and cassis flavors with excellent intensity, plus an outstanding, silky mouthfeel.  The overall balance of this wine is also spot on.  It finishes with more blackberry flavors and a touch of toasted oak.  Most importantly, this wine is tasty!
I can’t wait until the next cabernet day to taste this again… and I won’t.
Wine: Crios
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol: 13.9%
Rating: 90
Fee: $15.00 Read more

Finca La Linda Torrontés

Finca La Linda TorrontésLately, when I mention Argentine wines most people reckon of Malbec.  It’s popularity has soared over the past few years.  But Argentina has a notable variety on the colorless wine shelf too, Torrontés.
This variety is supposedly related to Malvasia.  Rather than reword what’s already been place out there about Torrontés, I’ll give you these links for the background on the variety: Read more

Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir

Alfredo Roca Pinot NoirThe Alfredo Roca winery resides in San Rafael, in the Mendoza province of Argentina. Their vineyards span 114 hectares and their winery was originally built in 1905.  And my exceptional math skills tell me that they’ve been producing wine for over 100 years.
This is another Pinot Noir for which I was given a glowing recommendation—the catch was that the recommendation came from a name tiresome to sell it to me.  It sounded fantastic, “an outstanding Pinot Noir for below $10!”  But, after tiresome it, I was disappointed and won’t be buying it again—nor will I be taking recommendations from the same person.The nose is simple but fragrant.  Leather, cherry and cedar is how I would describe it.  The aromas are rather pleasant.  The palate is where it lost me and I found it rather thin, acidic and bitter.  The fruit is certainly lacking.  There is a bit of cherry and raspberry, but it is quite underwhelming.  It also has a slightly metallic aftertaste.  It’s drinkable, but rather disappointing.
Wine: Alfredo Roca
Variety: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2006
Alcohol: 13%
Rating: 82
Fee: $8.99

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San Felipe Cabernet Sauvignon

San Felipe Cabernet SauvignonHere’s a quick review for an Argentine Cabernet Sauvignon.  This one comes from Mendoza and is imported by Billington Wines, although you won’t find any mention of it on their website.  I’m not sure if they’ve discontinued it or if it’s just not an vital brand to them.  I found this bottle stacked up in suitcases of bargain wines at a local wine shop.
The 2004 San Felipe Cabernet Sauvignon is a decent wine for the fee: $5.99.  It features a very earthy nose – wet rock, leather and cherry – and a nice mouth feel.  It has some blackberry and currant flavors, but they are overpowered by the tannins which end a small harsh although quite silky at first.  I gave it an 86.
If you stumble across this one, it might be worth the six bucks to give it a try, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to hunt for it.
Wine: San Felipe
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2004
Alcohol: 13.5%
Rating: 86
Fee Paid: $5.99

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