La Pinta Malbec Rose

IMG_0919Okay, since visiting Provence last year I’ve had a thing for pink wines.  I don’t enjoy white wines, believe me I tried all last summer, and while my experience has not been all bad on a whole, I prefer red wine.

Rose and I, however, hit it off.  It was that happy combination of hot weather and cool wine, a Bouillabaisse to be exact, that closed the deal for me in France.  I had several bottles since I came home and I can’t think of any that have failed me.  Chardonnay tastes to me like 10W30 motor oil.  I don’t know what the hell motor oil taste likes, but everytime I drink Chardonnay I think motor oil, grab a coffee filter, and put it in my pocket.  I’ve had some Rieslings I’ve liked and Gurzintamer.  But overall, white wine and water taste pretty much the same to me.  Yeah I’ve got a well, I get great water!

So, just before the 4th of July I ordered a mixed case of Rose from the Wall Street Journal wine club, allowing someone else to pick the wines.  I got some French, Italian, Spanish, US and, would you believe Argentine, Roses.  I blindly reached into the wine cooler and pulled out a bottle of La Pinta Malbec Rose, a total surprise to me.  A Malbec Rose?  Who’d a thunk it?

Let me tell you I was impressed by the wine.  I love the color, more orange than pink, so thank my stars I can give “Ruby” red a rest.  Great nose, went back again and again, even stood up to a very potent cigar.  The taste, as Campbells Soup says, mmm, mmm good.  The experts say cherry, red currant, strawberry, and watermelon.  I got none of that, what I got was a delicious, cool refreshing wine that mated well with a steak salad and one stinky cigar.  The “oomph” that Malbec delivers was here even in the Rose edition.  I was gleeful to see my mixed case included another bottle.

Now, this review puts me at odds with most of the other reviewers who I’ve read.  Most haven’t liked the La Pinta.  One said that white wine drinkers would find it okay, but not red, and my opinion is a complete 180 from that.  Only shows you, open the bottle and try it yourself and read the experts after you form your own impression.  I found everything I wanted in a summer wine, great taste, great nose, cool and refreshing and under $20.

Now, if you enter Argentina into the WINE-DAR you’re going to end up in Mendoza.  This is the Nappa Valley of Argentina.  You may even end up in Lujan de Cuyo where this wine is made. Located 2000 feet up in the foothills of the Andes you’ll find the home of Bodega Don Cristobal.  The wine is 100% Malbec.  From the Winemaker’s notes, the color I’m told is arrived at by limiting the time the skins of the grapes are allowed to be in contact with the juice.  Don Cristobal is a big 131 hectare vineyard producing 2.2 million liters of wine a year.  The facility is state of the art, which is the story for wine from Argentina.

They have been making wine in Argentina for over 300 years thanks to the Spanish  conquistadores and the priests that traveled with them.  From the 1820’s to 1860’s waves of European immigrants came to Argentina, most from wine-growing area’s because of the phylloxera epidemic had wiped out their vineyards in Europe.  Phylloxera never touched Chile or Argentina.  Argentines were big wine drinkers at the beginning of the 1900’s, with the average Argentine drinking 26 gallons of wine a year.  The wine was simple, rough, mundane, incredibly cheap, and rarely saw the light of day outside Argentina.  By the 1990’s the average Argentine only drank 10 gallons of wine annually, and the winemakers knew they had to export or die.  Enter the new modern era of winemaking in Argentina, more oak, cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks, more modern facilities and, oh yeah, more marketing.  Argentina is now the 5th largest producer of wine in the world.

Argentina is considered the “sleeping giant” of the wine world, and it’s waking up.  La Pinta is just one example of the new wave of Argentine wine.  Get ready folks, the land of Aveta, is going to come to town and put on one hell of a show!

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