Malbec Madness!

Malbec Madness!

Join the Celebration Weds April 17

In anticipation of Malbec Day Weds. April 17, Annie AnyDay, Ima Zinner, ChamPan, and I gathered on my sunny deck to taste four 2011 Malbecs: 2011 Trivento Reserve, 2011 Ruta 22, 2011 Conquista, all from Argentina, and from Chile, Concha y Toro’s 2011 Casillero del Diablo. (Reviews below).MalbecMadness

As Malbec and Malbec blends now account for almost half of the entire Argentinean wine category in the U.S., you’d think my first Malbec crush would be one from South America.

But the first Malbec that made a memorable impression and wowed my palate was actually a barrel sample from Basel Cellars that I tasted while on a visit there during the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla Washington.  

I remember clearly the lush blueberry that flooded my palate, and even now, I desire to repeat that experience. The following year when I re-visited Walla Walla, I found myself driving by the impressive gates of the even more impressive Basel Cellars estate, but unfortunately the tasting room was closed…and we were on our way to Oregon so I have yet to taste this Malbec in the bottle (and, btw,  Steven Tanzer awarded 89 Points to the 2008 Chelle Den Millie Malbec which retails for $32).

Malbec grapes on the vine in the Cafayate wine...

Malbec grapes on the vine in the Cafayate wine region of Argentina. This pic also demonstrates the trellising vine training used with drip irrigation system running along the bottom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the folks at Creative Palate, in the 1860s, Malbec was brought from France to the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina where the constant sun and heat helps the grape to achieve optimal ripeness; Malbec thrives in the hot, dry weather and high elevations of Mendoza creating a typically ripe and lush wine with smooth tannins.

Malbec has also found suitable terroir on the other side of the Andes in the consistently hot and dry Rapel Valley of Chile.

Please join me in raising a collective glass to toast this newly “discovered,” newly beloved versatile and delightful varietal–regardless of where it comes from North or South America! Follow along with the fun on twitter by searching and tweeting using #MalbecMadness! Continue reading

Foods From Chile Goodie Bag + Wines to taste too!

chilegoodiesWhile I am not packing my bags and brushing up my Spanish for my trip to Chile (at least not this time!), I was excited to open my box of goodies from the Foods from Chile folks.

Enclosed, packed in a Foods From Chile muslin bag, I found these products made from Chilean foods: a bottle of 100% pure blueberry juice, a jar of onion jam in merlot wine, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and a can of mussels in oil.

That same day I also received three bottles of Malbec for Malbec Madness April 17–two from Argentina, and this 2011 Casillero del Diablo from Concha y Toro in Chile!

In addition, I’m looking forward to tasting two more wines from Chile that are on their way: new releases from  Viña Ventisquero, a leading producer of estate and single vineyard wines–Queulat Sauvignon Blanc and Queulat Pinot Noir.

Queulat Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Varietal:                 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Appellation:          Leyda Valley

SRP:                        $17.99

Queulat Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010

Varietal:                 100% Pinot Noir

Appellation:          Casablanca Valley

SRP:                        $17.99

And I still have a bottle of Lapostolle Cabernet that I bought last month to use to make the video I submitted as a finalist in the Foods from Chile contest…

So if you, like me, can’t go to Chile, we can at least enjoy Foods (and wines!) from Chile like these!

Foods from Chile + Chilean Wine

When I was a poor college student (except for the year I worked at Ridge!), and then a student loan paying underemployed thirty-something artist/poet/writer, my go to wines were from Chile. My friends and I knew that with Chilean wines, we could get the best bang for our buck!

8465982902_0ea11ce421_mLast fall, I had the opportunity to taste four wines from Concha y Toro’s Gran Reserve Series with TasteLive  and we were happily surprised to find that you still get a BIG BANG for your buck with Chilean wine. Since Foods from Chile is hosting a contest to take a blogger to Chile (!!), I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring and turn my notes into a long over due blog post and submission. (UPDATE: Vote for me here please!! http://promoshq.wildfireapp.com/website/302/contests/310099/voteable_entries?page=1)

Plus there’s ANOTHER contest that you can join in! Celebrate the “Affordable Luxury” of the Gran Reserva Serie Riberas reviewed below: enter their photo contest for chance to WIN $1,000! Extra points for mentions of these wines, wine, cameras, and rivers!  http://ow.ly/hjsCr Here’s my submission: chileFoodWine Continue reading