A Day of Tastings

2006.Oct.19 Thursday · 0 comments

in Drink, Food & Recipes

“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”

– Oscar Wilde, Poet, Novelist, Critic

Buenos Aires – Yesterday morning started off with another round of our cheese tasting group. This week it was a trio of simple “Argentine blues” – no further designation like “roquefort”, “gorgonzola”, “cabrales”, or “stilton”. Just “blue“. This time the idea was to come up with the differences in three producers’ styles – Sancor, La Quesera, and Ilolay – so we tasted them side by side without knowing which was which until after the fact. They were indeed significantly different:

  • Sancor – very smooth and almost creamy in texture, with flavors of fresh cream, mushrooms, sage, red bell pepper, and a hint of a metallic, or alkaline note at the end – Okay
  • La Quesera – crumbly and somewhat wet, with flavors of cooked white beans and melted butter, very simplistic – Okay
  • Ilolay – crumbly and firm, with complex flavors of cooked ham, tomato, celery, and yogurt – my favorite of the bunch – Recommended

Later, in the evening, found me, and several wine friends, at the way overcrowded 2da Exposicion de Vinos y Espumantes de Alta Gama, or a tasting of “higher end” wines and sparkling wines. It was held in a local gastronomy school, split up in four classrooms, each designed to comfortably hold about 20 people, each packed with more like 50-60, and more people arriving constantly. Despite arriving at the scheduled opening time, things were already underway and the place was seething with people. The organization hosting the event had slated 500 tickets for last evening and another 500 for this, at a cost of 50 pesos a head. Way too many people for the space, even if the extra bucks are going to a good cause, one of the local children’s hospitals. Supposedly a tasting of approximately 40 producers (it was more like 25), each showing off their better wines (criteria was those that retail for more than 30 pesos a bottle). I gave up after an hour and only tasting 26 of the wines from 11 of the producers. I got tired of trying to even get close to a table or get the attention of anyone behind one to pour a taste…

  • Xumek Malbec 2004 – black plums, lots of fruit, candied violets, juicy acidity – Recommended
  • Xumek Syrah 2004 – blackberry, black pepper and other spices, lots of fruit, great acidity, well balanced – Recommended
  • Finca Las Glicinas Malbec 2004 – black plums, bittersweet chocolate, mace, high acidity, good finish – Okay
  • Finca Las Glicinas Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 – red currants, pencil lead, tobacco, high acidity – Okay
  • Domingo Molina Malbec 2001 – black plum, bitter chocolate, nutmeg, very concentrated – Highly recommended
  • Domingo Molina Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 – cassis, strong note of dry tobacco, black pepper, light oak – Highly recommended
  • Domingo Molina Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 – cassis, tobacco, black pepper, light oak, bitter finish – Okay
  • Finca El Retiro Tempranillo 2003 – the surprise star of the evening for me, zingy raspberry fruit, mixed spices, great balance, and a long finish – Highly recommended
  • Finca El Retiro Malbec 2003 – red plums, candied violets, cinnamon, good acidity, long finish – Highly recommended
  • Quara Malbec Reserva 2004 – graham crackers, oaky, yellow plums, plastic/chemical note on finish – Not recommended
  • Quara Tannat Reserva 2004 – earthy, tobacco, tannic, red fruits, light oak – Highly recommended
  • El Porvenir “Laborum” Syrah 2003 – blackberry, blueberry, jammy, “hot” spices, good balance – Recommended
  • El Porvenir “Laborum” Malbec-Cabernet 2004 – red currant, red plum, high acidity, medium tannins, simple – Okay
  • El Porvenir “Amauta” Malbec-Cabernet-Syrah 2004 – milk chocolate, red fruits, light spice, higih acidity, medium oak – Recommended
  • Casa Boher Merlot 2002 – very tightly wound wine, needing time, lots of acidity and tannin, some raspberry fruit – Recommended to try in future
  • Casa Boher Malbec 2002 – red plums, candied violets, nutmeg, very high acidity – Okay
  • Kaiken Malbec Reserva 2004 – black plum, candied violet, well balanced, a bit too oaky for my tastes but well made – Recommended
  • Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2004 – alcoholic and very oaky, chocolate, graham crackers, black fruit – Okay
  • Kaiken Malbec Ultra 2004 – tannic, red fruits, lots of oak, spices – Okay
  • Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon Ultra 2004 – bitter, black fruit, lots of oak, black pepper, alcoholic – Not recommended
  • Trivento Malbec 2003 – black plum, milk chocolate, oak, light spice, candied violet, somewhat simple for the price range – Okay
  • Gentile Collins Tempranillo “Prestigio” 2003 – raspberry, light spice, well balanced, short finish – Okay
  • Gentile Collins Gran Syrah 2002 – blackberry jam, excellent acidity, black pepper, integrated oak – Highly recommended
  • Valduban Ribera del Duero 2001 – the last three wines were from the Freixenet company, which has holdings in multiple countries – this one from Spain – black fruits, oak, tannic, light pepper, rather one dimensional for a Ribera del Duero at this price level – Okay
  • Vi de Guarda “Morlada” Priorat 2001 – also from Spain – blueberry, spice, dark, well integrated oak, good balance – Recommended
  • Arerunguá Tannat Reserva 2000 – from Uruguay – still young and closed, lots of smoke, dark fruit, tannic, very spicy – Recommended

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