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Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from a Top Argentinean Producer

Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from a Top Argentinean Producer


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Gonzalo Carrasco, senior winemaker at Terrazas de los Andes, swung through Dallas recently and wowed me with a tasting of his reserva and single-vineyard offerings. Not only are they definitive expressions of Argentinean malbec and cabernet sauvignon, but they are also stunning values. The latter is in large part due to the strength of the U.S. dollar against the peso — which is also a good reason to scoot down to Argentina this winter (which is summer there) for bargains in luxury hotels, impressive restaurants, and other world-class wines.

All the wines Carrasco poured for me are current releases. We started with the mid-tier reserva varietals, malbec and cabernet sauvignon, from 2015, followed by two single-vineyard examples from the same grapes — the 2013 Las Compuertas malbec and the 2013 Los Aromos cabernet.

Both the reserva and the single-vineyard malbec were fine examples of the fruit-driven, velvety-tannin style we are used to from Argentina. The difference essentially came down to two words: intensity and complexity. The Las Compuertas — the name refers both to the vineyard and its appellation — enchanted the palate with the fruit and the earthy, peppery notes it exuded. At around $52 a bottle, it is classic, high-scoring malbec (95+ points on many scales) at something close to an affordable price. The reserva — a 90+ wine — was an absolute bargain at about $17. Sommeliers reading this should consider it for their lists, including by-the-glass selections.

The cabernet sauvignon choices were even more attractive, since they could be directly compared to other New World examples of the grape (here’s looking at you, California). The reserva ($19) could have been from Napa or Sonoma. It had forward, dark fruit, silky tannins, and enough backbone to pair with any red meat. The single-vineyard Los Aromas ($48), from Luján de Cuyo, was the most complex and bewitching of the four wines that Carrasco served. It should age for a decade without signs of decline, but is also wonderful to drink now.

Check out these wines with friends and a meal of steak, lamb, bison, or venison. You could also drink these with barbecue — as we have been known to do in Texas.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


The Argentinian red wine that conquered the world

Last week I told you there was lots more to Argentinian wine than malbec, but given that so many people adore the stuff, there might be complaints if I don’t give some new tips. After all, it features on practically every wine list you come across these days.

Although some malbecs are better than others – like every wine that gets super-popular, it’s become a bit of a cash cow – it is nevertheless reassuringly consistent. Smooth, rich, fruity, not overly tannic, and with much of the appeal of rioja, including the fact that it goes with pretty much everything (including the Burns Night haggis this evening, if you’re so minded). You could maybe criticise it for being a bit soft and occasionally soupy, but most people aren’t going to quibble, especially not at the very reasonable prices that most malbec fetches.

Personally, I prefer it in a blend, as it has historically featured in Bordeaux, but I suspect I’m in a minority there. Grapes such as cabernet sauvignon give it a bit more structure, while cabernet franc lends extra freshness.

What style you find on the shelf depends on the producer. As I mentioned last week, the US is a major export market for Argentina’s wine industry, so some brands play on the sweeter fruit and oaky character that is popular over there. Others, particularly at the top end, show a more European, and specifically French, influence, such as Caro’s Amancaya , a joint project by Catena and Barons de Rothschild Lafite. “If you find a malbec that is harsh and aggressive, don’t blame the malbec,” says Catena’s winemaker, Ernesto Bajda. “Blame the winemaker.”

There is also a contrary fashion, as elsewhere in the wine world, for using less oak. Bajda, for example, has a cellar full of concrete tanks – the most I’ve seen anywhere – which he uses for the delicious Concreto Malbec, and I loved the vibrant Traslapiedra, which is not yet over here, although at roughly twice the price of more common malbecs, neither will ever be mainstream. If what you like about malbec is its lush smoothness, why would you go for a wine that tastes more like a gamay? (I would, but then I love light-bodied reds.)

In terms of origin, look out in particular for the Uco Valley and sub-regions such as Altamira and La Consulta, which are generally considered the prime growing areas for malbec, not least because of the height of the vineyards, though interesting ones are being made farther north in Salta, too.


Watch the video: The Most Studied Vineyard in the World: Adrianna, by Laura Catena


Comments:

  1. Albin

    HURRAH!!! HURRAH!!!!!! HURRAH!!!!!!!!

  2. Siegfried

    All of the above is true.

  3. Trip

    Choice at you hard

  4. Abdul-Basit

    I, sorry, that certainly does not suit me at all. Thanks for the help.

  5. Ditilar

    Exactly! I like this idea, I completely agree with you.

  6. Arashiran

    Bravo, what a great answer.



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