Intrigued by the label – Wine tasting in Taoyuan

Old and new, close together on Taiwan

When teaching here at the International Center for Land Policy Studies and Training in Taoyuan, I frequent the little wine and liquor outlet, named “Drinks” ( , across the street and buy some bottles of wine for the long evenings.

The shop carries a lot of wines from France, especially reds from Bordeaux and lots of very fine whiskeys from Scotland and other places. This time I followed the eye more than anything else and bought a wine from Argentina. To be fair, there were two main motives for this decision. 1. It’s quite some time that I had tried a bottle of Malbec. Therefore the Argentinian ‘2007 Lo Tengo’ bottle of Malbec jumped right into my eye. 2. I must admit I was also drawn in by the label. The black and white picture of the legs of a Tango dancing couple where very intriguing and I found the bottle very attractive. So I paid (about US$ 18) and went.

In the evening, my friend Jim and myself sat down for a little chat-cum-wine-tasting. He had bought a bottle from Italy. Well, to cut a long story short. When I opened the bottle from Argentina and saw a plastic cork, I was already alarmed. The deep purple liquid, unfortunately, did not hold what the bottle label promised. Actually the wine tasted quite neutral, no nose, a bit of red fruit, that was it, no finish worth speaking of. Disappointing. After doing some research on the internet, I found out later that this wine can be bought in some places in the USA for about US$ 6-7. I would have needed an internet search facility in the shop, I guess. Alternatively, I could make an effort and learn more about wines from Argentina. I might do that, especially since I have seen this little charming video with the choir lately. The Riserva Malbecs from Trivento have never disappointed me, but of course they were also more expensive.

The second wine we tasted was a ‘2003 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – Sante Lancerio’ by Melini. The wine came from the same shop. I held it in my hands but decided for the Malbec. What a mistake. This wine retails in the USA for about US$ 10, in the UK prices are higher, maybe around 12 Pounds, in Germany is costs about 10-12 Euro. But certain vintages are sold at much higher prices (for instance in the UK the single vineyard Nobile de Montepulciano by Melini cost about 30 Pounds a bottle).

What a difference that was to the first wine. We both liked it very much. We were reminded of our time in Italy when we both worked at the FAO for the United Nations and we allowed the wine to carry us with it, home to beautiful Italy. Sweet memories, of two reminiscing old friends. Nothing can beat that.

One Response to Intrigued by the label – Wine tasting in Taoyuan

  1. thomas weber says:

    dear rainer,

    we had the same bad experience that you had with the lotengo stuff. it should have been a nice companion to a meal after a scientific session to the restless-
    legs-syndrom. but it failed …
    it realy was not worth the money (5, – euro)
    we definitely have better wines, specialy on our lovely and meandering mosel river.

    best whishes


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