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Bodegas Salentein Wines from Valle de Uco, Argentina

2 Dec

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Bodegas Salentein 2015 Reserve Chardonnay; Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. 13.5%ABV, Average street price  $18 USD.

Color is pale sunshine with green tinge. Gentle aroma of grilled pineapple, lemon-lime and wildflowers on the nose. In the mouth, golden delicious apple and citrus fruit mixes with powerful acidity. Directly behind the fruit, heat crosses the top palate while the back palate reels from the tannins and tart lime peel. Notes of vanilla, baked bread, and chalky limestone on the medium-long finish. A gorgeous, delicate chardonnay that is a pleasure to drink. Alone it may be a touch acidic, but with mild cheese or white meat, the wine is a perfect complement and palate cleanser. For friends who won’t drink Chardonnay made outside of California, here is something you need to taste- a subtle, mature, underscored hit of a chardonnay that smacks your interest early on and shows you how a star is born. If you can’t tell, I was very impressed by this chardonnay, which demonstrated clearly to me that truly great white wines are also possible from the famed Mendoza wine region Valle de Uco!

 

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Bodegas Salentein Killka Collection  Torrentes 2015; Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. 12.5%ABV; Average street price $15 USD. 

Pale gold in color with a beautifully floral nose that features sweet honeysuckle and jasmine. In the mouth, fruit starts with bosc pear and a blend of secondary notes of tart lemon zest, star fruit and pineapple. Bright acidity with a hint of bitters that works well in the character. Chalky loam on the short finish. A great choice to enjoy under the hot sun when well chilled, this wine can quickly transition from being a tasty and refreshing apéritif to complement a salad and fish course, capable to handling shellfish, ceviche, or  grilled salmon, bass, and even seared tuna.

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Killka Collection Red Blend 2014; Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. 14% ABV, Average Street price $15/bottle. 

The color shows a garnet center shifting to deep ruby. The nose offers  red plum, cherry, and rose bush with a hint of menthol. In the mouth, sour cherry and ripe red plum are dominant fruits. Notes of aged oak, vanilla bean, schist, granite, and sodium round out the finish. Ideal for grilled meats. The blend is of 50% Malbec, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah and 5% Petite Verdot.

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Bodegas Salentein 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. 14%ABV, Average street price  $18 USD.

Deep purple in color with a nose of eucalyptus, forest floor, and pencil shavings. In the mouth, a harmonious & moderate blend of fruit, acid and tannins. A dark fruit mix of aged blackberries, black currants, and prunes, with secondary notes of potting soil, tobacco, old leather, toasted oak, graphite and wet stone. Features a medium long and very dry finish; this wine is a solid value in reserve cab and a classic, firmly masculine expression of Mendoza’s terroir.

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Bodegas Salentein 2014 Reserve Malbec; Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. 14%ABV, Average street price  $16 USD.

Dark ruby color with a nose of blueberries and black plum. On the palate, a driven and singular focus of blackberry, with secondary notes of cherry cola, freshly cut grass, black pepper and spice box. The strong acidity and powerful tannins leave a real bite on the finish making this a great complement to grilled meats.

 

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If you taste these wines blind, you won’t immediately think of South America or Argentina. But you WILL think: “These are delicious, wonderful wines.” 

 

à votre santé!

Markus Joey 2015 Insieme

22 Sep

Markus Joey 2015 Insieme, Markus Wine Company. 13% ABV, $19/bottle. Available from Borra Vineyards

 

What happens when two winemakers are friends and decide to partner on a wine? Sometimes you get a beautiful result, and here is a great one! Markus Joey Insieme is the blend of 95% Lodi, California Torrontes grapes (winemaker Markus Niggli)with 5% Lewisville, North Carolina Traminette grapes (winemaker Joey Medaloni). If you look closely at the label, you’ll see both winemakers, Markus facing West to Lodi, Joey facing East to Lewisville. But just wait until you taste what they made in the middle!

 

The color is pale straw, while the nose offers faint peach, gardenias and a hint of pineapple. On the palate: beautiful citrus, honeydew melon, and a white floral bouquet are met with a moderate body, focused minerality and strong acidity. The flavors are gentle but they linger, tantalize your palate, and challenge you to drink more.

 

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This wine is what you want to serve your oenophile and sommelier friends, because they won’t guess what it is, unless they’ve already been fooled by it. So hold on to a bottle if you can, but I can’t. It’s too delicious to cellar! I found myself reaching for the bottle of Insieme in the late afternoon and pouring myself a tiny bit to sit in the late day sun, sniff, sip, and admire. I’d love to buy a case of this but I doubt it would ever make it past the first floor of my home.

 
I paired a bottle of Insieme (which is Italian for “together”) over a two week tasting period with a cheese platter, Mexican food, Chinese food, and a Julia Childs-style braised chicken breast with new potatoes. The supple flavors, beautiful mouthfeel and delightful acidity make this sing like one of the stunning, gratuitously expensive wines from the Bavarian alps, but this wine is pure American made fruit. Its complexity allows you to enjoy it with many pairings, but I ended up preferring it all by itself, it’s just that much of a pleasure to drink and focus on. And even over two weeks(!) it stayed fresh and consistent in my fridge, thanks to the screw cap and high acidity that keep the blend in check.

 

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If I had to put this wine partnership into a mental image, I’d offer it up as Wassily Kandinsky/Jackson Pollock mesh of art styles. But trust me, you white wine lovers, you’d rather put this in your mouth and savor the flavors of partnership. This bottle offers incredible value with a reasonable price for exceptional drinking pleasure, and that’s all the reason you need to keep some on hand.

 

à votre santé!

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