To many American wine consumers, Argentine wine means two things: Malbec and value. I often hear people comment on how easily they can find delicious Malbec from Argentina for less than $15. With living and working in the Colorado wine industry, Argentina - Mendoza specifically - also often comes up as a comparable wine producing region to the Grand Valley. Both are high-altitude, arid regions in the shadows of impressive mountains. Several Colorado producers have taken this comparison to heart and are working with Malbec. However, it can be difficult for Colorado wine producers trying to sell $25+ Malbec when tasty Argentine examples can be had for half the price. That's not knocking the Colorado Malbecs; it's just simple economics.
|Loscano 2013 Torrontés Private Reserve|
A few days ago when looking for a wine to pair with an oyster and pasta dinner, the Loscano 2013 Torrontés Private Reserve (13.8% abv, Sample $14) was the obvious choice. The 2013 vintage comes from Mendoza, but it appears that the 2014 and 2015 releases were sourced from the even higher-altitude Cafayate region in Salta in the northern part of Argentina. Vineyards in Cafayate go all the way up to 10,000 feet above sea level! I don't know why the grape sourcing changed, but maybe the "high altitude wines" description on the label had something to do with it.
I am quite interested in trying those new vintages because the 2013 version was quite the delicious wine. At under $14 per bottle, I am planning on buying a few more then next time I find myself at Argonaut in Denver. The aromatics on this wine were absolutely beautiful. Aromas of pineapples, peaches and flowers leapt from the glass. I very much enjoyed just simply smelling this wine throughout the evening. I didn't even need to put my nose in the glass to get a whiff of the wine; it was that expressive. On the palate, the wine showed more citrus, ginger and spice flavors. There was a nice creamy mouthfeel to the wine, probably because it was barrel aged for three months on the lees. Taken together, the aromas and the flavors combine to deliver a really great wine. And for the price, that stereotypical Argentine value is clearly abounds with this wine. I highly recommend it.
A few nights later, the Jordan 2011 Cabernet Sauvingon (13.8% abv. Sample $53) found its way into my glass. While many people may think of Jordan as a Napa winery, it actually comes from the Alexander Valley AVA - just to the northwest of the Napa Valley AVA. Jordan was founded in 1972 by a couple of Coloradans: Tom and Sally Jordan. Jordan's estate encompasses 1,200 total acres, with 112 planted to vineyards. Jordan produces just two wines: a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay. They've done quite well doing what I try to tell CO wineries all the time: focus on what you do and do it well. Jordan may also be almost as famous for its marketing. Lisa Mattson (who just won a wine marketing award, congrats Lisa!) has taken Jordan's marketing to a whole new level with their videos. If you haven't seen the collection of Star Wars-themed videos, I urge you to visit the Jordan Blog and check them out.
|Jordan 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon|
Now, 2011 wasn't the most heralded vintage in California. It was cool and wet, and many 2011 northern California grapes just didn't get ripe or got moldy, which is clear in the wine. Yet, Jordan's 2011 shows none of those maladies. It isn't exceptionally aromatic, but still shows nice fruit and rustic aromas. It is silky smooth in the mouth with supple tannins and moderate acidity. A collection of blackberry, cherry, raspberry, cassis flavors meld with notes of tobacco and leather to create a very refined, well-balanced rendition of Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is not going to knock anyones socks off with its power and concentration, but harkens back to old world wine sensibilities. Judging by the balance shown and acidity present, I think this wine should stand up to the test of time. I may have to consider picking up a few bottles to keep, seeing as 2011 is my son's birth year.