Friday, July 16, 2010

Argentinian Malbec

Every week, or so, I try to get out there and buy a new wine solely on impulse. No previous knowledge - just a blind leap of faith, hoping Baachus and the gods of hedonism will catch my fall.

Sometimes I'm lucky! Argentina, Chile have always been good guesses for me... never mattered if I knew the winery or not, whether I was spending $10 or $20 or more... I just look for a label that catches my eye. And I buy.

Sometimes I am not so lucky.

There is a great family in Argentina, the Gascon family ( ), originally from Spain in the 1880's. They now make copious amounts of wine in Mendoza, and by copious I mean almost 10,000,000 Litres annually. That is roughly comparable to the wine consumption at the last WBC (Wine Bloggers Conference) in the great state of Washington in June of this year. Seriously. Alot of wine.

But they have managed, under the guidance of Gustavo Marin, to produce quality. Serious quality.

Take their Don Miguel Gascon which I reviewed: over-the-top value for the price. Their 1884 Reservado is of similar quality; much more depth then anyone could reasonably expect for $20.

Alas today I bought their CIRCUS Malbec 2009. I say alas because less then a year ago the BCLDB ( ) had it on sale for $12.

CIRCUS 2009 Malbec
13.5%, $17 (Specialty wine stores only) **Decent Value**
  • moderate garnet coloring with little or no rim
  • after open for an hour; moderate nose of gamey meat, leathery oak, slightly hot alcohol, dark red berries, slight herbaceousness (garrigue)
  • moderate++ acids, full gravelly tannins, moderately intense flavors of dark berries, dark chocolate, terroir showing through in that gamey-ness, and the over-the-top oaking finishes the palate
  • moderate body, decent structure for a hamburger wine
A shame. A $12 wine selling for $17. If I was sold this for $12, I would think: "Wow! Great hamburger wine!" As it is, it only has a mediocre structure, unbalanced by overactive acids and tannins that haven't had the time to settle. If they ever settle. A buddy of mine in the industry says: "Some wines just need time. Time to pour down the drain and buy a different bottle." As it is, I have to say I would NOT buy this wine (for the price) or recommend it. Pity, the family makes great wines.

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