Monday, June 7, 2010

Valle Las Acequias, the richness of Malbec

Vancouver, BC: city by the water. It's the first week of June and the winds are whipping down from the local mountains; thick with rain and cold. It feels more like October as a fire burns in our fireplace and a bottle of Valle Las Acequias, 2005 Malbec is decanting. Mrs. Astudentofwine and I settle in to watch Anthony Bourdain travel Great Britain's greatest culinary talents and, weather aside, all is good in the world.
We had this wine with a simple grilled pork, mashed potatoes, bacon & caramelized onion demi-glace and salad. Simple food for simple folks. But the wine? For the price I may never find better quality ever again. The next time I have this wine (and there will be many next times for this wine) I will make my own steak tartare and a confit of elephant garlic to smear on my foccacia crostini. Carpe diem my friends - savor your wine.

2005 Valle Las Acequias Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina 
**BUY THIS NOW @ $22**
  • the color of bruised plums: a true Malbec with the barest hint of brickish rim... looking for all the world more like a 2 year old wine rather then 5 years old
  • after decanting 2 hours, a bouquet of worn leather, ferric gamey bloody meat, deep black berries and black currants, irises, dusty earth
  • moderate++ acids (bordering on full-) well balanced by moderate+ tannins (which are still a touch green, though big-soft-mildly chewy)
  • moderate++ intense flavors that perfectly match the nose and last forever... excellent structure and though reasonably high in alcohol, never hot
A wonder. A truly brilliant wine bordering on true excellence. Similar to what I found in the Pio Cesare Ornato Barolo of 2004, this wine is showing excellent potential and has not peaked yet. Let's be honest, there is a touch of green-ness to the tannins as they are a little rough around the edges, and the acids are a tad over-the-top, but this wine is a find. Buy a case of this and savor a new bottle every month to enjoy how it develops... it's that good. Buy what you can afford, then buy a few more bottles, because let's face it - it's $100/bottle cheaper then Pio Cesare Ornato Barolo~!
Cin-cin! Slainte!
Thursday, 10th February 2011

So a re-visit to Las Acequias Malbec, but this time the new release: 2006 vintage~!

Well, as I failed to mention any of the particulars of the winery last time, I will attempt brevity:

Remarkably, the family has been in Mendoza since the 16th century, which is 3 centuries longer then the European settlement in Vancouver. The Correas family, who own the winery, have been involved in many aspects of Mendoza (and Argentinean) life including politics when Mr Juan de Dios Correas was governor of Argentina for 3 consecutive terms.

     The Correas family now produce 5 different lines of wines, and I am disheartened to say that I have only tasted one varietal from one line, the here-to mentioned Valle Las Acequias which is named for the ancient canals that bring glacial run-off down from the mountains to irrigate the arid Mendoza landscape.

     Much remains the same in Mendoza; people eat similar food to what was eaten in generations past, horses are still a common mode of transportation, and everyone enjoys their wine. What has changed is: the vast quantity of wine that can be produced now, the quality with which it can be produced, and the equipment used there-in. The Correas family is no exception and is rightfully proud of their use of innovative technology whether it be Julian Correas who has a degree in Agronomy Engineering, or their shiny new de-stemmer machine from Italy, or their warehouse of French oak barrels which can hold..... 3.7 MILLION litres of wine in total (which in 225 L barriques is approximately 16,500 barrels). Rightfully proud.

2006 Malbec from Valle Las Acequias
Estate Don Angelino, High Medrano, Mendoza, Argentina
13.8% ABV, $22 CAD    ** BUY THIS NOW ** 
100% Malbec, 70 year old vines, hand-picked late March
6 months French oak
  • visual:   clear; deep garnet core with slight cherry rim
  • nose:   clean; fully intense youthful aromas with substantial development; gamey meat, black berries, layers of cherry and red currant, slight black currant, slight garrigue, vanilla at the end with black florals... smells similar to wine from Languedoc-Rousillion in France
  • palate:    clean; dry, moderate+ to full (red currant and sour cherry) acids, moderate+ (slightly chewy) tannin, moderate+ ABV, moderate+ body, fully intense youthful flavors showing development; vanilla oak is forward with red berries, followed by some blackberry, black currant, wild savory herbs, black florals at the end with the oak again. Excellent balance. Excellent structure. Brilliant length on the palate (especially for the price).
  • conclusion:   Drink it now and drink it later! This wine is showing beautifully now and will continue to do so for several years (2011-2015). I don't predict much more development in the bottle, but it is already a significant value for the money.  
  • PAIRINGS:   Bold acids call for a bit of fat, and soft tannin mean you can use a gentler meat; consider duck! It may not be traditional to Argentina, but consider seared duck breast with cherry and caramelized onion compote... onions will brings beauty to this wine- trust me.
     And so, once again, this is one of my top value-wines for the year. I can honestly say that in the past 13 months I have tasted and made notes on over 700 wines, and this is surely, for the money, among the best.

CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!


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