February 2008                               


Wines of the month - Paul DeRose

Argentina’s Winter Welcome

We’re more than a month into winter and it’s cold here in Maryland (OK New Englanders you can laugh now). Full bodied reds are in greatest demand at this time of year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, to accompany hearty foods that are fitting of the season. So, it may seem strange that some of the most reasonably priced, type A personality reds, come from Argentina’s Mendoza Valley, which is now in the middle of a hot summer. It may come as less of a surprise that their best red grape is originally from Bordeaux. But no, it’s not Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. It’s Malbec, a relatively obscure grape in France these days, which has gotten a new lease on life by finding a home in this up and coming wine region. Argentina is now the fifth largest wine producing country in the world with large numbers of their wines coming to the US. Another surprise, since little more than 10 years ago, you would have been hard pressed to find a single Argentinian wine on our shelves. A good exchange rate with their currency at present, unlike the euro, also keeps their wines at very reasonable prices. These Malbecs tend to be full bodied, yet they also possess a rich, easy-drinking quality, due to blackberry and milk chocolate nuances, combined with a slightly rustic kick.

Some of my preferred choices are listed below. Please send comments or questions to deroseline@comcast.net

Vina Cobos Malbec     $18

Catena Malbec      $ 20 *

Luigi Bosca Malbec Reserva      $ 16 *

Felipe Rutini Malbec      $ 14 *

Altos Las Hormigas      $ 10

Alamos Malbec      $ 10 *

Trumpeter Malbec      $ 8 *

* indicates available in Montgomery County