From the Mendoza region of Argentina comes the 2012 TintoNegro, a sharp-smelling Malbec that is actually much smoother to taste. My wife picked out this inky beauty and allowed me to sample it throughout this work week one glass at a time.
2012 TintoNegro Malbec, Ugo Valley, Mendoza, Argentina.
It accompanied grilled chicken one night (with our summer favorite orzo pasta and arugula salad), tuna and salmon sushi another evening, and pepperoni pizza on a third. My favorite was probably the chicken, maybe because it was the best “traditional” pairing and perhaps because the pizza was just too heavy in combination. I didn’t get heart burn–but it wasn’t far away, either.
The TintoNegro had some good things going on. It’s sourced from the Uco Valley, a “cool climate” high-altitude Malbec, and is aged for nine months in French oak barrels. The vineyard’s approach yields some enticing fruit flavors and dark colors in the glass. You taste for sure black raspberry–dark fruit but a hint of tang–and a full, textured finish. This 2012 definitely has some oomph to it.
If I can find another 2012, I think I’m going to give the TintoNegro another try to see if I can pin down more of its profile. I’m still intrigued and determined to delve deeper.
Jonesing for a red alternative this weekend, I grabbed this Malbec from a local grocery store and hoped for a good tasting experience. I’ve been doing more wine reading as of late and, while I couldn’t recall if the Trivento was included in any ‘must try’ recommendations, I know that Argentinian Malbec has been recognized by some wine aficionados as a below-the-radar find.
2013 Trivento Malbec Reserve, Mendoza, Argentina.
And so, from the world’s fifth-largest wine producer Argentina (up to $1 billion in 2014 exports from $5 million just 20 years ago) comes the Trivento. According to the winemaker, this wine gets its name from the Polar, Zonda, and Sudestada winds and owes its fortunes to the Eolo, the God of the Winds who commands the winds over the Mendoza region from which Trivento originates. Now that’s a whole lot of cool mythos, and the Trivento almost foots the bill. It’s a plummy red wine, a medium-bodied dry red that has a little bit of oaky vanilla woven throughout its core.
Our foodstuffs on this Sunday evening included a pork loin, savory and succulent, and a light green salad. Throw in some mashed potatoes too with the 2013 Trivento Reserve and you’ve got a meal.
Argentina boasts less than 5% market share today and the Trivento is a safe, right-down-the-middle of the plate groove through the strike zone. Not too sharp, and plenty safe. I liked fine enough but don’t really need to give it another go.
The summer is nearing its end, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share several reds that we sampled along the way. Some scored high marks (like the Atilla’s Selection from Buena Vista); others like the Toro or Navardia will probably fall into the “been there done that” camp. The real fun is in discovering which is which. Here’s a fly-by for your consideration:
2012 Navardia, Rioja, Spain.
2011 Cairanne La Cigalette, Rhone Villages, France.
2013 Toro Tempranillo, Spain.
2010 Solanera, vinas viejas, Yecla, Spain.
2012 Cruz Alba Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina.
2011 Insomnia Red Wine Blend, California, USA.
2012 Buena Vista Atilla’s Selection Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA.
We’ll call this a “birthday wine”, because we opened while celebrating a milestone for Ma. I’ve seen it shelved and/or displayed in NJ wine stores and must be a relatively mass-produced Argentinian red because it was all over Rochester too. The Malbec followed a Tormaresca that we had gifted (and written about) previously, and that’s one of the fun things about having more people enjoying a bottle together–with the portions divided, you get to open more bottles and do more sampling at a given sitting. In any case, we uncorked the Gascon Malbec 2009 to accompany an Asian green salad, grilled asparagus, twice-baked potatoes, and perfectly cooked Wegman’s steaks. It must have worked well in this capacity, because it was long gone by the time we got around to some fantastic desserts.
Gascon 2009, Argentina.
Here’s the usual run-down from the winemaker: “Don Miguel Gascón Malbec is a full-bodied wine with a deep violet color, showcasing flavors and aromas of blackberry, blueberry, plum, dark cherry, and a hint of mocha. The wine is elegant and rich in texture, with soft, round tannins and a long velvety finish.”
Apparently the growing season in 2009 had some crazy temperatures that resulted in variations to the grapes–their thickness, acidity, vibrancy, freshness, concentration–a host of factors far beyond my taste. I was just glad it was such a welcome addition to the glad event.