Tinto Negro 2012 Uco Valley Malbec

November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Tinto Negra MalbecWine is not a commodity. I know this isn’t a revelation but there seems to be a lot of people who assume that every 90+ point wine is going to blow their hair back or that a 90+ point wine priced at $15 is better than a 90+ point wine priced at $25. The reality is that your mood and the scenario within which you will be tasting the wine play a huge role in your value judgement of the wine. With that in mind I have decided to another nuance to my reviews, that being motivations.

Motivations: It’s been a hard week and its a dreary wet, chilling Friday. I could either go with something that is moody, a little stormy, heavy and brooding, or exactly the opposite; something bright, vibrant and juicy.

Dinner is a Turkey casserole the recipe of which came from a neighbour as a great way to enjoy Turkey leftovers. So the wine will have to work well with Turkey, gravy, stuffing, peas, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Decision: Moody & Stormy – Tinto Negro 2012 Uco Valley Malbec

Price: $17.29

Store Section: Argentina

The Wine: The Uco Valley is one of my favourite regions in the world. It isn’t that far away from other wine growing areas surrounding Mendoza in Argentina. The wines offer amazing complexity and layers while being priced as well as others, and the Tinto Negro is no different.

The nose shows dark fruit with violets, hints of smoke, spice and cured meats, while the palate is full, multi-layered and round. The finish shows off the richness of the fruit along with subtle spice and floral tones. Overall this wine is a great wine for a slow moving, dreary evening and brooding, heavy mood.

Value: 8.7 – Over Delivers

Added Value: This has added value when paired with Movie Night, Comfort Foods, and dark misty nights.

Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores

 

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TintoNegro 2013 Malbec

March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

imagePrice: ~$13.99

Score: 7.8 – Over Delivers

As I strolled the aisles of the liquor store on a Saturday afternoon I came across this wine. What I was looking for was a Bonarda but in this store the Argentine red wine selection was limited to 30 Malbecs, 5 Cabs and 1 Syrah. Given that I was out of luck on the Bonarda, and dinner was fast approaching, I went looking for the wine that presented the best value for the money.What I mean by this is to find the wine with the best packaging, the highest accolades at the lowest price.

Ta Da! TintoNegro 2013 Malbec. At $13.99 and 90 Points from the Wine Advocate, the TintoNegro was the clear choice.

Tasting Notes Sipping: Deep dark purple, almost black in colour. The nose if brimming with a complex combination of dark berry and tree fruits, dark earth, leather and savoury herbs, that are at once bright and muscular. The palate big and boozy and full of power. The tongue is struck by the bold dark fruits wrapped in spicy leather… think of a spicy fruit leather.. without the big sugar. The finish is long, a bit boozy and brooding.

Tasting Notes with Food: This is a wine for a big thick steak. I particularly liked how this wine worked with a steak smothered in Montreal Steak spice. While sipping the fruit is somewhat muted, but with the steak and the spice the fruit shines through.

Value: For $13.99 you should buy this wine… perhaps by the case… assuming you like big boozy wines. If power and weight are key to your enjoyment, this offers both in spades and more so than most in this price point.

Added Value: This wine offers huge added value to BBQ’s and Comfort Foods. It also a nice choice for Date Nights.

Service: Twist off the cap and let breathe for about 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times. It is not common to aerate or breathe a wine at this price, but this is a testament to the quality of this wine.

Grapes: Malbec

Store Section: Argentina

Appellation: Mendoza – The Mendoza appellation encompasses all the sub-appellations in the Mendoza area including the highly touted areas of Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley.

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.5%

Lurton 2013 Pinot Gris

February 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $14.99 (Feb. 2015 – $13.99)image

The Uco Valley of Argentina is one of my top ten wine regions to visit in the world. Not only does it offer stunning beauty, but it produces my favourite ever Pinot Noir, Malbec, Chardonnay and, yes Pinot Gris. It is a small area in comparison to appellations in California or Australia, but the wines tend to offer great flavour, texture and balance and because it is not as well known as other regions of Argentina, the wines generally drive greater value than what their price suggests.

I have experienced many a Lurton wine and have seen them expand their wings into various regions outside of France, and I’m not surprised at all that they are in the Uco, in fact I’m impressed.

Full disclosure: I’m not a big fan of Pinot Gris. There are many that are well made, but there are other profiles that when using my own money, I would buy over Pinot Gris.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is a flinty pale straw. Likely best described as the colour of filtered sunlight at midday. The aromas show pear, citrus, melon and some lovely minerality. The palate is fresh, balanced and complete; there are no holes. The flavours match the aromas and there is a juicy pear ‘center’ that is really appealing. The finish is crisp and juicy.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with a simply grilled Tilapia filet and it worked beautifully. Tilapia is relatively light and it was seasoned with some herbs (taragon, parsley, basil), butter and a touch of lemon. The fruit in the wine came alive and made the meal greater than the sum of its parts; isn’t that what you want from a Monday night dinner? Why not make Monday special?

Value: I know that many will dislike the following comment, however this wine is every bit as good as BC Pinot Gris’s at $17-$20. I would happily trade up a couple of bucks from wines such as Woodbridge (California), Yellow Tail (Australia) and Nederburg (South Africa).

Added Value: This wine has added value for those looking for Wedding Wine. It makes a fantastic Girls Night Out and Date Night Wine, and it is very much a Crowd Pleaser.

More To The Story: I love that this wine immediately took me to the Uco Valley. I could feel the gentle breeze on my face, the dryness of the air and the vista as I looked up at the snowy peaks of the Andes. For me if there is a signature of a great wine, this is it. If it can transport me to a place, whether an idea or memory of a place, it has made a positive impression.

Score: 8.7  – Over Delivers

Service: Chill down and enjoy. Make sure that it is not too cold. You will be able to tell if there isn’t a juicy ‘middle’ to the wine.

Grapes: Pinot Gris

Store Section: Argentina

Appellation: Uco Valley

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Liquor Depot, Everything Wine, Metro Liquor Tuscany Village

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 13.5%

El Bar Argentino 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

January 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 5.3 – Dead Average2015/01/img_2212.jpg

Price: $8.99

About the Wine: A very light nose, even after waiting a few minutes. Some crushed red berry and a hint of mocha. The palate is what I would have expected from an $8.99 wine; simple, one-dimensional, uninspired. All in all this is a pass for me; there are better options under $9.99 with which to spend my money.

The wine did show much better with food, in this case Spaghetti Bolognese.

Value: This wine is apart of BC Liquor Stores Savvy Shoppers displays and with that in mind, I would strongly suggest spending the extra $1 and get the La Vuelta Malbec.

Added Value: As I noted above this wine is at its best with a Comfort Foods meal. Specifically one that has lots of carbs and protein.

Service: Twist off the cap and let it flow.

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Savvy Shoppers Displays

Appellation: Mendoza

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.5%

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La Vuelta 2013 Malbec

January 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 7.2 – Good Drop2015/01/img_0694.png

Price: $9.99

About the Wine: Your sniffer will immediately find a masculine wine. Lots of dark brooding aromas including, leather, black and blueberry compote, black pepper and clove spice. The palate is also quite brooding, almost like a big summer storm coming over a lake. Ripe to stewed black fruits, spicy leathery notes, a little hot/boozy which gives the wine a more voluptuous feel than it is. The finish is short, port like, lacking in tannins and a little boozy.

Value: This isn’t first time I have seen this wine. In fact it has been in the market before, but only available through private stores. The BC Liquor Stores have bought 300 cases of this wine for a January promotion called Savvy Shopper and I suspect they got a special price. At $9.99 I think it offers better value than perennial powerhouse Fincas Los Primos at $11.99. I also think it is a better, truer buy than Copper Moon, Naked Grape, Barefoot or Flip Flop Malbec (all priced at $9.99)

Added Value: For the month of January this wine has added value when having a big thick, Argentine-like steak or Comfort Foods like Mac N’ Cheese.

More To The Story: La Vuelta is made by one of the oldest wineries in Argentina. Bodega La Rural was established with the arrival of the first Italian immigrants to the Mendoza area of Western Argentina. I visited with them a few years back and tasted through their entire line, which were all clean and well made. What impressed me most was the winemaker. He had been crafting wines for Bodega La Rural for 20 years. Why is that important? Wine is an art that takes time to perfect. Of course there is the science of fermentation but wine is a living thing. Being able to craft a consistent quality product means understanding the land in a way that a book can not do. I liken it to a conversation with the grapes that is hosted by the vineyard and Mother Nature. It’s invitation only and invitations are hard to get it. Mariano di Paolo gets an invitation every year.

Service: Twist off the cap and let it roll. The tannins are very light so breathing won’t have much of an effect.

Grapes: Malbec

Store Section: Argentina

Appellation: Mendoza

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.5%

Receive fun, useful, daily reviews of wines available in BC under $20 per bottle directly into your own personal e-mail box. Simply subscribe by clicking here, going to the main page and clicking the e-mail subscription button.

 

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