Malbec

Is Malbec the only Argentinian wine?

Evaristo Carriego (1883-1912) was an Argentinian poet, whose ancestor moved from Valladolid, Spain, to Argentina at the end of the 18th century. His fame is today largely due to the biography Jorge Luis Borges wrote about him, and to this tango piece.  Written by Eduardo Rovira, the tango was recorded by Osvaldo Pugliese's orchestra in 1969, and has since been an all-time favorite of milongeros and tango aficionados.

The combination of the strongly rhythmical bandoneón and piano in the base and the cello's lyrical melody line seems to invite tango dancers to be at once grounded and flying - to infuse in the listeners a sense of harmony through multiplicity. The piece conjures up a unique sense of theatricality through its variations in moods and tempi, and the alternation between intense dramatic bright solos and dark engulfing ensemble moments. From the summits of passion to the depths of illness, this iconic tango condenses the emotions of the poet's 29-year life, engaging its listeners in a full sensory and artistic experience of life and death.

This music evokes a dark, brooding sense of passion, and we were immediately drawn to a wine with drama and depth, but also one that shows tremendous personality. Two wines again came to mind. The first: a Taurasi from the Campania region of Italy. Taurasi is a DOCG wine whose unique volcanic soils make for some incredibly deep and complex wines from the Aglianico grape (a relatively unknown grape). In a nod to Argentina, you might expect we’d default to Malbec, but not this time. To be sure, Malbecs can often be dark and emotional wines with incredible character and versatility, but we prefer to invite you to try the lesser known Bonarda, a grape that piqued our interest. When Bonarda is from older vines, it can be wild, scrumptious, and dramatic. Try looking for Durigutti Bonarda from the Mendoza region, or a classic Taurasi, called “Radici” from the producer Mastroberardino. Be amazed!

Rutherford on New Year's Eve!

Not surprisingly, ever since I’ve started spending more time in California, I’ve of course started drinking more California wines.  Californians are a bit snooty about their wine and according to a this article published by wine app, Vivino, Californians overwhelmingly drink their own wines above all others, including varietals such as Malbec, a varietal that is typically attributed to Argentina as one of their best exports.  

I've always wanted to become more acquainted with French wines and decided to pick one up for New Year’s Eve.  However, while coming home late that night, there weren’t too many stores still open in my neighborhood, and so I came home with the Rutherford Hill Barrel Select Napa Valley Red from 2011. Made from 69% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 7% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Malbec, this wine was a real treat.  Bordeaux style wines thrive in the Napa Valley where warm days and cool nights are the norm, and this one certainly didn't disappoint!

The Cabernet Sauvignon grape doesn’t figure as much in this bottle, though it is the dominant (and most consumed) grape in California and the addition of the Merlot deepens and softens the flavors.  The wine is round and luscious, and the few sips we had leftover the next day were just as delicious!