Just a few wines that have fallen into my lap, so to speak, from distributors here, including a round-up of a dozen from one winery.
García Riccardi Rose Ambar 2005 – One of the most unusual rosés I’ve ever tried, starting simply with the blend – Moscatel rosada, Moscatel asti, Pinot noir, Cabernet franc, and Malbec. The wine spends two years, yes, two years, in French oak barriques and then five additional years aging in bottle, having just been released. Only 500 bottles were made, which probably also makes this one of the rarest pink wines out there. Beautifully packaged in a 500ml bottle with a stiff paper label hanging from a little dried stem of some sort wrapped around the neck. The grapes are all organically grown, and the processing is as hands-off as possible. The wine itself has a rich pink color for a rose, verging on simply being a lightly toned red, with touches of brick in the highlights. On the nose, notes of fig, hints of red berries, and just a hint of vanilla. On the palate it’s bone dry, with soft tannins, a bit of oak, and moderate acidity. The same flavors carry through with the addition of a background of warm spices like cinnamon, allspice and mace. Long finish, almost all spice and oak. Not your typical summer blush pink.
García Riccardi Malbec 2008 – As usual with this winery, great packaging. The wine shows a deep, red purple color. On the nose, a strong hit of vanilla and jammy dark fruit. On the palate, it comes across as a touch sweet, certainly full forward on the fruit, but with a sense that there may be enough residual sugar to sense. The tannins are so soft as to be near non-existent, acidity is low to medium, the oak, like the fruit, is full throttle. The wine sort of comes across as fitting that sort of “international red” style that used to be applied to overblown California wines, the only difference being that at least the alcohol isn’t over the top, coming in at a high, but not ridiculous 14.3%. Moderate length fruity finish with that touch of sweetness really standing out. Not my taste in reds unless I’m pairing it up with something like a rack of barbecued ribs slathered in sauce, or maybe a sloppy joe, but for those who like this sort, it’s well made.
Las Perdices Syrah-Viognier 2012 – Simple white label with the usual perdices (partridges) logo in the center. Medium depth red, surprisingly light for a Syrah (93%) even with the Viognier (7%) added. Fairly classic plummy nose with a bit of oak. On the palate moderately high acidity, a little thin, astringent tannins, plum fruit with a hit of of tinned peach that shows up more into the medium length finish. Not one I’d seek out again, though in the past I’ve quite liked Las Perdices’ wines, so it’s specific to this blend and vintage.
Divided into what appear to be three lines, I wasn’t given pricing to go with a case of samples, but as a guess, I’m putting these in order from what appear to be the basic line through the top of the line:
Mallea 62 Torrontés 2012 – Very bold graphic label with strong lettering in blacks and greys – the name is a reference to an indigenous woman, Mallea, who in 1562 married a local Spanish commandant, and the two of them went on to found the province of San Juan in Argentina. As a note, the Rewen name doesn’t appear on either front or back label, just a reference to the corporate entity behind it as a contact on the back label. 100% Torrontés, presumably subvarietal sanjuanino, given that the wine is from San Juan. For this varietal it’s a fairly rich color, falling somewhere between dark straw and butter. Really pleasant, flowery nose with touches of yellow plum and apricot. On the palate, dry, medium acidity, and a touch of slightly bitter tannins upfront. It opens up into stone fruit and flowers but then fades quickly on a medium length finish back to the bitterness. Intriguing if slightly odd.
Mallea 62 Syrah Rose 2012 – The wine is 100% Syrah. Visually it’s the color of a classic “red pop”, fairly vivid, with a slightly watery rim. On the nose it’s all strawberry and raspberry, which just sort of continues that theme. And, that carries over onto the palate with its relatively high acidity, a fair dose of residual sugar, and just more and more berry fruit. The finish is rather short and sweet.
Mallea Malbec 2012 – 100% Malbec. Red purple color, fairly deep. Basic but classic red plum fruit, candied violets on the nose, continued onto the palate. Rather high acidity, noticeable oak, and dry tannins. On the medium length finish, mostly acidity. A little one note overall.
Mallea 62 Cabernet Syrah 2012 – 60% Cabernet and 40% Syrah grown and produced in San Juan province. Dark red purple, fairly impenetrable. On the nose, red fruit and vanilla. The palate hits with fairly high acidity, dry tannins, and just a hint of oak. The fruit tends towards berry fruit, both red and black, and there’s a bit of graphite, typical of a classic Cabernet. The finish is relatively short and all acid. This is just too young to drink, even for a basic line blend.
Rewen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – The Estate line are all packaged with a simple white label with a vineyard logo on it. 100% Cabernet sauvignon aged for 6 months in French and American oak and another 3 in bottle. Pretty classic Cabernet – nice deep red color; nose of black currant, coconut (presumably from the American oak), and a bit of earthiness. On the palate it’s all fruit, moderately high acidity, little to no tannins and the oak isn’t overly present. The finish is medium length and sticks with the fruit.
Rewen Estate Syrah 2012 – Like the Cab, this seems pretty straight-on. Classic deep red purple color, plenty of blackberry fruit on the nose. On the palate it picks up some milk chocolate notes and a touch of green stemminess, but on the mid-palate it’s all about that berry fruit. The finish, however, is moderately long and and is pretty astringent and not very pleasant. It’s telling that out of this case of 12 wines, this is the only one that neither of us even finished off a single glass.
Rewen Estate Malbec 2012 – One more with the same basic profile, just a different grape. Same aging times, etc. Nice purple red color, fairly deep. On the nose black plum and vanilla. The palate has a medium high acidity, soft tannins, and once again a whole load of fruit. Basically the style of this line seems to be to emphasize fruit over complexity. Not a bad thing, just a stylistic choice. The finish is medium length and a touch on the sweet side side.
Rewen Estate Petite Verdot 2012 – I hate to just say more of the same, but it is. This line pretty much all look, smell and taste along classic lines for the grapes involved, with just enough oak to be noticeable. Lots and lots of sweet, dark fruit on this one, touches of chocolate, and that stays through into the finish.
Rewen Estate Petite Verdot Single Vineyard 2012 – Simple black label version of the regular line’s white label. 100% of the grape, 9 months in French and American oak and 6 months in bottle. Dark purple red, near impenetrable. On the nose, berry fruit and cinnamon, touch of oak – almost a graham cracker aroma to it. On the palate an upfront hit high acidity which continues throughout. Dry tannins, a bit of oak, and just a hint of noticeable alcohol. Lots of berry fruit and spice, and both fruit and acidity continue onto a fairly long finish.
Rewen Estate Bonarda 2012 – Straightforward labeling on this line – jet black label with just the name of the winery and the wine, nothing else, including a vintage date which doesn’t appear anywhere on either front or back label (though the back label is clearly missing all the usual “fill in” info that gets put on year by year, so presumably this was bottled as a sample before the labels had been run through the final processing – I’d note that most of these sample bottles had labels from past vintages with a small sticker applied noting that they were samples and giving the vintage – presumably the sticker for this bottle simply fell off). 100% Bonarda aged 9 months in a mix of French and American oak and then 6 months in bottle. I’ve never seen a Bonarda so dark, it’s a nearly impenetrable deep purple color – put a lightbulb behind it and no light shines through at all. On the nose a bit of dry stone, oak, and vague hints of dark fruit. On the palate it’s soft, with sweet tannins and oak, moderate acidity, and a lot of plum and cherry type fruit. Plenty of spice as well, leaning towards sharper spices like pepper and ginger. The finish is reasonably long and fades from fruit to dark chocolate and spice notes.
Rewen Estate Bonarda Winemaker’s Selection 2012 – Fanciful packaging with a black and white label that’s basically a fractured photograph of a naked woman in a field split into various shards. Deep purple color, interestingly not as dark as the Bonarda above, but still pretty inky. 100% Bonarda aged 12 months in a mix of French and American oak, no indication if there’s more bottle time afterwards. On the nose a strong hit of vanilla, cinnamon and saddle leather. On the palate relatively high acidity, a strong hit of oak, soft tannins. The best description of the palate we could come up with was to pour a can of V-8 juice into a saddle bag, stick in a cinnamon stick, a vanilla bean and a menthol cough drop and let them all sit there infusing for a few days. Strangely, it was perfectly drinkable, just odd, and nothing like any Bonarda any of us had ever tasted.
Rewen “Herejia” Grenache – Syrah – Malbec 2012 – Packaged in a squat bottle to look, I suppose, like a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, with an artsy, somewhat garish label in blues, greens and purples depicting a woman with flowers in her hair hugging a seated lion from behind. The latter is dressed in a suit reminiscent of Bertie Wooster left to his own devices, i.e., sans Jeeves. The wine is an inky dark purple, not surprising given the blend (a blend which the label asserts “breaks the mold” with its “daring” – okay…). On the nose, cherry cola and spice, with a hint of roses. The palate starts off with a fairly sharp acidity, slightly bitter tannins, and a whole lot of fruit. At the same time it has a very thin mouthfeel, surprising for a wine of this sort, and fades quickly in a short and acidic finish. My first thought is that it’s simply too young to be drinking and is coming across disconnected, though I may be wrong, I don’t sense that it has that level of structure to develop longterm, instead coming across as an imitation of a fairly straightforward Cotes-du-Rhone.