In the pampas, money talks.
This is my lesson, my one takeaway about the state of Argentinian wine: You get what you pay for, and if you’re willing to shell out for high-end malbec (and lord knows before this week that would be the last thing I’d ever consider doing), you might just find yourself drinking one of the great wines on the market.
The Wines of Argentina trade group brought together 50-some producers to show off their wares, ranging from crisp white torrontes wines to bulk-style malbec/cab blends to very high-end malbecs, the likes of which I didn’t know existed.
It doesn’t take much sampling for your palate to start adjusting to the finer bottlings, and soon I found myself hunting down these top shelf wines just to see who’d top the tasting. That answer was unequivocally a wine called (no really) Judas, from Bodega Sotano. This $70 wine — very hard to find — offers a rich mouthfeel full of chocolate notes, fading to an herbal finish that melds perfectly with the cocoa palate. I would betray you for this wine, I assure you.
Good values were also to be found. I especially enjoyed Ruca Malen’s smooth and balanced Cabernet Sauvignon ($17), and the wines of Luigi Bosca (two malbec bottlings, $20 and $25), offered tart cherry notes in an easydrinking style.
Complete ratings follow on 28 wines sampled.
Wines of Argentina, October 2009
2006 Alta Vista Torrontes Classic / $12 / B
2006 Alta Vista Malbec Grande Reserve Terroir Selection / $26 / B-
2005 Alta Vista Alto Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon / $80 / A-
2007 Vina Cobos Bramare Chardonnay / $35 / B
2006 Vina Cobos Bramar Lujan de Cuyo Cabernet Sauvignon / $80 / A-
2007 Vina Cobos Bramar Lujan de Cuyo Malbec / $40 / B-
2004 Andeluna Cellars Grand Reserve Pasionado / $50 / A-
2008 Terrazas Torrontes Reserva / $18 / B
2006 Terrazas Malbec Reserva / $18 / C+
2005 Terrazas Cheval des Andes / $65 / A-
2005 Michel Torino Estate Altimus / $39 / A
2005 Dominio del Plata Susan Balbo Brioso / $45 / B+
2006 Bodega Sottano Judas / $70 / A+
2004 Rutini Felipe Rutini Apartado / $75 / B+
2006 Bodega Ruca Malen Cabernet Sauvignon / $17 / A-
2007 Bodega Ruca Malen Kinien Malbec / $45 / B+
2008 Pascual Toso S.A. Malbec / $12 / B+
2007 Pascual Toso S.A. Malbec Alta Reserva / $35 / A-
2006 Pascual Toso S.A. Magdalena Toso Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon / $100 / B
2008 O. Fournier Alta Crux Malbec / $54 / A-
2006 Monteviejo Lindaflor Malbec / $55 / B+
2007 Finca Sophenia Synthesis Malbec / $35 / A-
2007 Finca Sophenia Synthesis The Blend / $55 / B+
NV Luigi Bosca Brut Nature / $24 / B+
2006 Luigi Bosca Malbec / $20 / A-
2006 Luigi Bosca Malbec DOC / $25 / A-
2004 Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Malbec/Petit Verdot / $60 / A-
2008 Urraca Malbec / $27 / B
2007 Urraca Familia Langley Reserva / $58 / A-