2007 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Alamos

2007 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Alamos
Argentina, Mendoza

Wine Rating: 89

Uncorked: 2008.07.05
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Saturday, Wine No. 6
Shared by Paul C.

This was the favorite wine of this evening’s tasting, and was nearly the unanimous #1 pick of the flight. It is an outstanding value, as many of the Argentine Malbecs have become. I highly recommend this wine with its excellent QPR (Quality Price Ratio).

The color is very purple and dark. The nose is full of ripe fruit, spice, toast, and earth. The mouth is where the youthfulness of the wine is apparent. It is bold and brash with vibrant fruit and almost rustic flavors. Chewy mouth-feel with ripe blackberry, juicy cherry, and dark plum followed by hints of chocolate and espresso. There is definite earthiness in the flavors of this wine with wet wood and rich, loamy soil. Long finish with nice spice and velvety tannins.

$9.99 widely available

2006 Pascual Toso Malbec

2006 Pascual Toso Malbec
Argentina, Mendoza, Maipú

Wine Rating: 90

Uncorked: 2008.07.03
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Thursday, Wine No. 6

This Malbec is another standard at Casa de P-D. It is full of flavor and serves extremely well with lots of different foods. It’s one I love to sip will grilling and serve with meat and grilled veggies off the Big Green Egg. It is an extraordinary value and often sells out quickly. When you find it, buy several bottles. You’ll be glad you did.

The color is gorgeous – dark inky red/purple. The nose is opulent with dark aromas – black fruit, pepper, tobacco, mocha, smoke. The initial flavors in the mouth are deep, rich fruits – plum, blackberries, black currants, and blueberries. Spice, leather, and cola flavors emerge mid-palate along with a vegetal hint (bell peppers?). The medium finish is solid with ample tannins and a layered taper of flavors. There is a lot going on with this wine and an excellent QPR (Quality-Price Ratio).

I am tempted to try to keep my hands off a few of the bottles in the cellar to see how this would do over time. I am guessing it will become rounder and more subtle in its layers of flavors. The problem, though, is I love this wine even in its youth and am not sure I can leave it alone!

$15.99 Sherlock’s Wine Merchant, Dekalb Farmers Market
(can be found for $10-$12)

2007 Don Miguel Gascon Malbec

2007 Don Miguel Gascon Malbec
Argentina, Mendoza

Wine Rating: 88

Uncorked: 2008.06.30
Wine Ministry – CTS DMin Happy Hour
Week 1, Monday, Wine No. 3

Alluring color that is a dark, inky purple – almost black. There is a bit of funk in the nose that seemed to clear after a few minutes of breathing, but right out of the bottle there was some definite artificial, almost rubbery (old tires?) aromas. Also present are dark, ripe cherries and blackberries. In the mouth there is a wash of flavors – dark fruit, ripe plum, and a bowl full of black cherries. Nice toasty mocha and a rich loamy earthiness grounded the wine. Substantial tannins – slightly bitter, and a bit of alcohol burn on the back of the throat (14.2%). The QPR (quality-to-price ratio) is very high – for under $10 it’s a bold bottle of Malbec. It’s a lot of wine for a little money – well worth the price. Still, for a few dollars more there are even better expressions to be had.

$8.99 widely available

2005 Bodega Renacer Malbec Punto Final Reserva

2005 Bodega Renacer Malbec Punto Final Reserva
Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, La Consulta

Wine Rating:  92

Uncorked: 2008.01.15 – CTS DMin NYC Wine Ministry

A subtle and sophisticated improvement over its non-reserva sibling. This wine is seductive in every way. The color is gem-like with inky depth. Generous in the nose with dark cherry, blackberry, chocolate, a hint of smokiness, and pepper. This bad boy was wrapped tight in the mouth — definitely would benefit from bottle aging and/or decanting. It was an explosion of flavors — dark currant, black cherry, ripe plum, and dark jammy strawberries. The fruit flavors continue as the wine washes over the mouth with velvety cedar and rich tobacco. The enduring finish of earthy, chewy, tannic flavors completes this excellent wine’s seduction. Definitely recommend this mouthful of flavor!

$17.99  Sussex Wines, NYC

2006 Bodega Renacer Malbec Punto Final

2006 Bodega Renacer Malbec Punto Final
Argentina, Mendoza

Wine Rating:  91

Uncorked: 2008.01.15 – CTS DMin NYC Wine Ministry

Malbec is a grape that was traditionally used in Bordeaux blends in France, but has come to its own fame as Argentina’s most important varietal.  It’s a fairly “big” wine that stands up well to a variety of foods.  It has become one of my favorite wines to serve with anything from grilled steaks to burgers and even tacos.

This is a mouthful of wine, slightly more rustic and playful than its Reserva sibling.  Beautiful dark garnet color.  Dark cherry, blackberry, mocha, and toasted oak in the nose.  Multiple layers of concentrated flavors in the mouth.  Big, jammy fruit in the front (cherry, plum with the skin on) followed by spice, mocha, and leather in the mid-palate.  The finish was round and flavorful with a slight tannic punch.  A luscious experience in the mouth.  This is an outstanding value.

$10.79  Sussex Wines, NYC