Argentina Embassy Tasting: Part Two

Viñas.jpgArgentina is U20 nirvana!! This post continues our report on the Argentina wineries tasting hosted by the Argentine Promotion Center in Los Angeles. All six wineries that showed were very good. However, four stood out as especially fine.
La Garde Winery presents itself as the old guard of Mendoza wineries…which it is [ed. pictured below]. They claim and aim to represent the long established tradition of fine winemaking in Argentina where terroir comes first. The winery was founded by a Spanish family in 1897 and sold to an Italian family in 1977. One distinguishing characteristic is the comparatively low production which is limited to 60,000 cases annually; small by Argentine standards. Bodega Lagarde.jpgTheir vineyards feature any old vine plantings located in the premium regions of Lujan de Cuyo and Tupungato Valley. Pride of ownership and old guard values are openly promoted. Worth seeking out.
2008 LaGarde Viognier $14: Rightly proud as the first winery to cultivate this varietal. Like the Viniterra version this is not foxy. Has glue-like nose. With lots of fruit, young and rich. 14.8%
2009 LaGarde Sauvignon Blanc $10: Grassy nose but not overwhelming. Fruit outweighs grass on the palate which is always good.
lagarde lineup.jpg2008 Altas Cumbres Malbec $10: The entry level Malbec. Dividing the wines into entry level and above is very common. The purpose is to distinguish young vines from older, and reserve wines from premium. See? That is the problem. Grade levels imply less versus more, good versus not as good. But in marketing like children’s birthday parties we cannot have lesser or not as good wines like we cannot have one kid getting all the gifts. But we digress. This is fruity stuff with plenty of body and at this price it is a U20 bargain. 14%

2007 LaGarde Cabernet Sauvignon
$15: There are many many Cabernets like this one in Napa. Only they cost 400% more. Fruity, rich, heavy weight. 14%
2008 LaGarde Malbec $15: There are NOT ANY Malbecs like this in Napa. Rich, focused, liqeuer flavors. Tons of chocolate and cranberry. Your basic Turkey killer wine. Both wines are in the Reserva line, one step above entry level Altas Cumbres. 14%

2007 LaGarde Malbec DOC
$20: In the US the label says Special Selection. This is the Major Drummond single vineyard of 100 year old vines, although the fellow pouring confided they blend it with 50 year old vines. It was exceptional. If the price is right [ed. $20 ain’t right enough?] then we should split a case. 14%
2006 Henry No. 1 $50: The big ticket blend of 50% Malbec, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Syrah. The blend can vary year to year. Juan Roby is the winemaker who selects and blends the best fruit production from the five vineyards in each vintage. This is very much like a Bordeaux blend, although quite young right now. Forward and rich style of a St. Julien. Not tBoW’s style, preferring the single vineyard Malbec. 14%
lotunueguys.jpg These are the guys from Bodegas Lontué whose wines we tasted, liked, but did not review. Their wines are from Santa Rosa which is about 60 km south of Mendoza; a hotter region at sea level. Very good value wines.
Bodega Mi Terru√±o is a family owned winery with holdings in Mendoza’s Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley regions. Style is very similar to Bodega Viniterra; tiny production – only 8,000 cases here – and commitment to quality. half1lineup.jpgBoth presented a full array covering the spectrum of white and red wines and a couple of unexpected ringers. Happily, both bodegas make excellent wine.
2009 Mi Terruño Torrontes $11: Mealy, high tone, structured. Nicest Torrontes here. From Santa Rose vines. Would seek this one out. Good acid. Very good effort. An absolute steal at this price. 13.9%
2007 Mi Terruño Malbec Rosé $10: What a nice surprise. Grapefruit flavors, good acid. 13%
2008 Mi Terruño Reserve Malbec $16: Fruity, mild tannins. The notorious entry level wine. Very good. 13.5%

2008 Mi Terruño Malbec Limited Reserva
$22: Half Cabernet Sauvignon from Uco Valley. Lush, lovely, middle weight. $14.2%
2007 Mi Terruño Mayacaba $50: The old vines bottle blends juice from the finest Perdriel vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo. 100% Malbec. Chewy, tannic, Rich. Primo. I could not justify spending $50 but if I did I would buy this before the LaGarde Henry blend. Female winemaker. 14.5%
After the tasting the tBoW team dined at Marino Restaurant in Hollywood. A first time for tBoW and crew. Old style Hollywood with up to date cooking and a classic old style Hollywood wine list; six pages of fairly priced Italian selections followed by three pages of first and second growth Bordeaux going back to the 70s for “da playahs”. Highly recommended.

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