Sunday, July 10, 2011

VistAlba Corte C by Carlos Pulenta, Mendoza, Argentina

I've written about the Lujan de Coyo DOC of Mendoza, Argentina before... but am growing to learn more about this diverse area (as any good student should do).

   I should start by saying that the province of Mendoza is a vast wine region. By comparison the province of British Columbia in Canada has approximately 210 wineries, yet Mendoza has over 1100. Yes, that's right: 1100 wineries producing more then 1 billion litres of wine; 70% of the total production of Argentina.

courtesy Wikipedia: Lujan de Cuyo

   Nestled in the north-west corner of Mendoza, situated against the mighty Cordón de Plata mountain range (and thus- Chile) is Lujan de Coyo DOC. I for one am glad that Mendoza/Argentina is smart enough to divide their intricate and infinite wine-region... it certainly makes my studies easier and more efficient, though I doubt they thought of me when they emulated the regional structure of France and the AOC system.

   In Luyan de Coyo is an even smaller sub-region called VistAlba, and in this region a noted Argentian winemaker named Carlos Pulenta has set-up shop. Carlos' family has been involved in the wine industry here in Mendoza for generations, and Carlos himself was the former president and CEO of Salentein (a Dutch company with 3 bodegas). His recently constructed winery is constructed largely of marble, slate, inert concrete and dark woods and has received many favorable write-ups on it's architecture. Pulenta owns 53 hectares of red grapes around the winery, 80% of which is malbec planted in 1948 and the rest being more recent plantings of more Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bonarda.

2008 VistAlba Corte C
Bodega VistAlba by Carlos Pulenta
15.1% ABV
$19 CAD  (BC) *** Very Good Value ***

varietals:   78% Malbec, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Bonarda
maturation:   12 months in 20% new French oak (medium toast), 6 months in bottle at winery
  • visual:   clear; fully intense deep purple core with slightest cherry/brick rim
  • nose:    clean; fully intense and developing aromas of worn leather, drying black berries (currants, raspberries), lifted red berries (raspberries, cherries, strawberry), slight menthol-savory herb, soft dark floral
  • palate:   clean; dry, medium+ (red currant) acids, medium+ to full (chalky and slightly green-grippy) tannins, medium+ body, medium+ to fully intense developing flavors that mimick the nose with emphasis on cocoa and dark berries. Very good to excellent balance, very good structure, long- length
  • conclusion: 2008 is showing well, but would benefit from further aging. Drink 2013-2018
  • PAIRINGS:   much like any Malbec blend, I would pair this wine with grilled red meat. Keep it simple to allow the rich aromatics of the wine to showcase, but use some fat to balance the relatively high acidity. Grilled ribeye steak with smoked seasalt and wild thyme butter

And so Carlos has returned to the family land and built himself something to be proud of. Not only a beautiful winery, with a 12-room inn and one of (if not the) most respected restaurants in the region: La Bourgogne. No, Carlos Pulenta and family haven't built a winery, they've created an experience.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and questions.

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


2009 VistAlba Corte "C"
 $20, 89 points

varietals:   80% Malbec, 20% Cabernet-Sauvignon 
  • visual:   clear; bright moderate ruby core with slightest cherry rim
  • nose:   clean; medium+ intense and youthful aromas of fresh red raspberries, cherries, currants, savory wood tones, old leather, light tones of pine resin and graphite
  • palate:   clean; dry, full (red currant) acids, moderate+ (green/grippy) tannins, moderate body, moderate+ alcohol (14.5%ABV), moderate+ intense and youthful flavors that mimick the nose with emphasis on bright red berries up front, some intriguing cedar/pine/leather mid-palate and a finish strong on red berries and earth. Good balance and structure, medium length
  • conclusion:   this cheeky little bugger is a diamond-in-the-rough waiting for someone to open it and decant twice before serving... a touch young, this will also reward patient cellaring. Best 2014-2018/2020
   Once again, a prime example of not judging to quickly, too harshly: never be afraid to let your wines sit open for a day or two or even three before deciding that they "just aren't any good". 
   There can be a number of reasons that a wine doesn't show well right away when you open it; bottle-shock, the wine can be too young, it may have suffered from travel, it may be going through an evolution (yes indeed, wines evolve sometimes more then once in the bottle)... never, ever be afraid to put the cork back in the bottle and try it again the next day. You may be pleasantly surprised by what happens!
   And the proof of this? As always, in the glass my friends.
As always, I look forward to your comments and questions.
CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

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