Sunday, April 28, 2013

Altos Las Hormigas Reserve from Mendoza, Argentina

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Reserve 2005Altos Las Homigas
Reserva 2005 Malbec
Valle de Uco
Vintage: 2005
Mendoza, Argentina

Altos las Hormigas was started in 1995 by a former Tuscan winemaker of the Antinori estate, Alberto Antonini. He joined forces with Antonio Morescalchi and scouted the area of Mendoza to begin their venture. Soon after they were joined by 3 additional prominent figures in the wine industry.  

The title of this wine ,"Altos las Hormigas", comes from the over 3,000 foot elevation of the vineyards and hormigas, meaning ants, because they had challenges in the vineyards with these pesky insects.

I had an interesting experience with this wine. In my opinion the fruit has been lost from this vintage and I believe it's past its peak. Although I have tried recent vintages at current tastings and have a different opinion of this wine in a more positive light. They are a very well respected producer. I even tried this wine the next day and it was much better than the first day. It definitely needed to open up a bit and loosen up. This wine awhile back has been rated number 45 out of 100 from Wine Spectator for those of you that love ratings.

This wine definitely needs food paired with it. I would recommend grilled meats or even pasta with sauce.

This wine had been aged 18 months in French oak. On the nose I detected a strong scent of raisins and raspberries. It's a deep, dark burgundy color and is a fuller bodied wine with a very dry finish with decent tannins.

The varietal, Malbec, comes from the south of France where it's called cot. In 1852 Malbec was brought over to Argentina by a French agronomist, Michel Puget. In the 19th century in France, as well as other countries, Malbec was being destroyed by phylloxera, an insect that feasts on the roots and leaves of grapevines.   

Argentina has the largest acreage of Malbec in the world. This area in Mendoza has over 300 days of sunshine a year with desert and semi-desert climate with hot days and cool nights. Here they also experience low humidity making the grapes less susceptible to fungi and insects.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monkey Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

I am a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. They have such a distinct taste to them that I find delicious and so refreshing, especially when the warm weather hits. Speaking of, I enjoyed this wine while I took a recent trip to FL. There is nothing like coming in at the end of the day from a visit to the beach and enjoying a glass. This is a rather inexpensive wine and for an inexpensive wine I was quite impressed with the quality. Enjoy some additional info on the wine and the region of Marlborough, New Zealand where this wine comes from.  

Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Marlborough, New Zealand
This wine was named after a monkey that was believe to live there in the 19th century and monkeys weren't even indigenous to this area.

These grapes are grown in the Rarangi vineyards that sit on the coast in the Wairu Valley, which is south of Monkey Bay. The Wairu Valley is the primary area where grapes are planted in Marlborough. Marlborough is now the primary wine producing region in all of New Zealand. Winemaking began there in the 1970's with Sauvignon Blanc being the dominant grape.
Rarangi means “sunny days” in Maori, which is appropriate for this area as it has a cool, maritime climate with long, sunny days creating a lengthy ripening time. The soils are gravely and well-drained.
This wine was a light style wine with bright, crisp acidity. On the palate, tropical fruit with your typical green and grapefruit tastes of New Zealand, but not as strong as some of the others I have tried over the years. This wine ended with a nice, clean finish.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Clos de los Siete from Michael Rolland in Mendoza, Argentina

Argentina is definitely on my list of places to travel.  I have heard so many great things about this country and I've always been a fan of Argentinian wines.  You can get such great wines for a great value.  Below I wrote some notes from my bottle of Clos de los Siete that I opened.  It was a little older in age, but still in good shape.  Let me know your experiences with Argentina or your thoughts on this wine in particular if you have tried it before.

Wine Tasting Info
Vintage: 2005
Producer: Michel Rolland
Varietal: 50% Malbec, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon10% Syrah
Location: Mendoza, Argentina (town of Tunuyan)
Alcohol: 15%

This wine is a combination of seven vineyards that lies in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, south of Mendoza, Argentina, hence the name "Clos de los Siete". The Tunuyan river flows through the valley down from the Andes Mountains providing the main source for irrigation. The vineyards are situated on high elevations with a long growing season with many warm, sunny days with little rain and cool nights.

Michael Rolland is a famous French wine consultant that joined forces with six other winemakers in the Vista Flores area of the Uco Valley producing this French-style bordeaux blend. 

This is a heavy, fuller bodied red with dark fruits and good tannins. The acidity is still present and balanced in the wine at this stage. Due to the higher alcohol in this wine you will get a sense of heat from this high alcohol content. The wine would benefit from some decanting before drinking to smooth out the wine a little before consuming. In the glass the wine has deep purple hues.