Tonight is bitterly cold (at least by Vancouver standards) with a low expected at -8C (17F) and with the windchill reaching -20C (-4F). Like I said - cold. Try smoking a cigar in that weather!
And where does one find big, bold red wines? Certainly Argentina would be one such place, in the Bodegas y Viñedos Pascual Toso. It is a familiar story to these parts: a young man from Piedmonte, Italy decides to chase his future all the way to Argentina in 1880, never dreaming that one day he could be the driving force behind his very own winery. Low and behold - hard work, dedication, the pursuit of excellence... the man did just that in less then 10 years. Now, generations later, the Toso family is continuing the pursuit of excellence.
But the family (and the winery of course) have more going for them then just passion and dedication; they also have terroir. The Maipu Valley in Mendoza, Argentina is home to (to quote the winemakers website
a heterogeneous terroir, an uneven piece of land going down 7 meters, where stretch soils with bare rock in which grapes stand up with all its quality, to deeper soils with green coverage. Las Barrancas possess excellent conditions for climatic agriculture, with warm days and fresh nights, low humidity relative and high heatstroke what is translated in vineyards with excellent quality of fruits and sanity. The water for irrigation comes from the snow of the Andes mountain trough the main River of the county, “Mendoza River”. Our soils are of alluvial origin.
Passion, dedication to excellence, multi-generations of accumulated knowledge, terroir, and a dizzying host of expensive winemaking tools, the Toso family seems to have it all, don't they? But it comes with the hard work - this I know. I haven't even broached the subject of how at one of their facilities, they are capable of (and actually do) producing 9 million bottles of sparkling wine per year. More sparkling wine then all of British Columbia in total.
But does all of this translate to excellence in the bottle? I leave you to judge for yourself, as I recently did.
2009 Pascual Toso Malbec
Maipu Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
14% ABV, $14 CAD, $12 USD ** EXCELLENT VALUE **
- visual: clean; fully intense deep plummy garnet core with slightest cherry rim
- nose: clean; fully intense youthful aromas; red cherries, red raspberries, leathery oak, slightest savory herb, deep soil/earthiness, slight peppery finish
- palate: clean; dry, fully intense red currant acids, moderate+ slightly grippy tannins, moderate+ ABV, moderate+ body, moderate+ intense youthful flavors mimicking the nose well; red currant acids are strong with lots of red berry up-front, leathery oak comes in mid-palate with the savory herbs, finish is all of the above with an underlying earthy depth. Good balance, very good structure, moderate+ length
- conclusion: Excellent wine for the price. Given the concentration of fruit and structure I would be inclined to age another 12 to 24 months and allow to develop
- PAIRINGS: Big red calls for big meaty flavors. This is meant for your bbq and beef, just like the Argentians who made it like to consume it. Not a beef eater? Try venison! Even wild mushrooms have enough depth of flavor to play off this wine - if cooked properly... consider a mushroom Wellington, or an aged cheddar stuffed mushroom cap with just a hint of spice to it!
My wife recently took a trip down to Las Vegas, and this bottle was for sale for $25 in a wine store that takes itself seriously... and from my point of view, it's seriously worth a lot more then the $14 it goes for in my local store.
As always, I look forward to and welcome your comments.
CINCIN~!!! SLAINTE~!!! CHEERS~!!!