Argentinian wines are now generally renown for their value; being both inexpensive and quite consistent in their quality. In fact, you may find that a ten to fifteen dollar bottle will take you to unexplored nuances and buttery lingerings that you could not otherwise get from the same price point of a bottle hailing from the Loire valley, or from our more domestic Sonoma coast.
The catalyst for some of Argentina’s strongest fermenting endeavors comes from the Tempranillo grape. Tempranillo is a tough wine to properly mature in the Argentinian climates; the grapes demand cool temperatures and long growth periods in order to produce its darkest elegance and acidity. But Tempranillo needs a scorching season in order for its silk and sweet to fully reveal. This is where, by near default, the Tempranillo style is situated from our latest frugal wine, the Altocedro, 2010 from Mendoza. The average temperature for the wine growing season in Mendoza ranges in the upper 80’s, giving us a first clue as to why this wine tastes the way it does. We’re not alluding to anything negative here, only pointing out what challenge this grape must confront in order to reach a splendid balance, temperate sweetness, all of which this wine seeks out and achieves.
Altocedro 100% Tempranillo 2010, La Consulta Mendoza, Argentina – 14.0%:
Very inky in the glass. Little break in color separation with a tip of the glass.
Some clay is prominent on the nose with hints of cedar, leather.
The Tannins are strong with this wine, but not overbearing. In fact you’re surprised by how easily, elegantly, this wine slips down the throat. Your mouth will go a tad dry whilst properly studying this wine; but you must, it’s well worth discovering its brilliant balance. The sweet takes a back seat as the leather and clay take slosh over the tongue, finally reaching a dark cherry near the throat. A caveat to its overall genuine structure: some acidity is missed. But I must elucidate, this is no heart breaker.
Overall: A worthy glug. Don’t miss it.
Quote of the evening:
“I feel like dipping the cheese in [this] wine. But I won’t. I guess; I don’t know. We’ll see how the night goes.”