Alamos – Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina

May 11, 2011

2008 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon

We had beautiful gnocchi for my farewell dinner at home before leaving for Taiwan again. On my way home from the office I dashed into a wine shop and bought a bottle of red. I selected a ‘2008 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon’ from Mendoza, Argentina. I just wanted something else.

It turned out to be a good choice. The wine complemented the meal and harmonized well with the gnocchi in tomatoes. I loved the fine aroma of the wine, the long finish and the intense fruit flavours of red berries with some spicy notes.

Bodega Alamos produces a wide range of wines. The grapes are sourced from the Catena family vineyards in Mendoza located on high-altitude sites (3,000 to 5,000 feet). The chief wine-maker of Bodega Alamos is Felipe Stahlschmidt. I could not think of a more German name.

The price of the wine in Bangkok was, as are all wine prices, ludicrous (25 EURO/bottle). However, given the Catena family legacy regarding the production of the Malbec variety, I will try their Malbec wines next.


Wine from Argentina: Misterio

June 30, 2010

2007 Misterio Cabernet Sauvignon by Finca Flichman

In a Belgian chocolate shop in Hanoi I picked up a bottle of Argentinian wine. I fancied a bottle of red. My choice was a ‘2007 Misterio Cabernet Sauvignon’ by Finca Flichman, Mendocino, Argentina. I know that the Argentinians keep their best wines for themselves. Anyway, I liked the name and the label of the wine.

The label in close up

I should have been warned, because the label said “oak aged”, and an “oaky” taste it was. Frankly speaking I was quite disappointed. Somehow the fruit was dull and I could not get my palate around it. Also the finish was not to my liking, it was a metallic taste which was left in my mouth. 86 Parker point were awarded to this wine. Maybe the circumstances of my tasting were not right.

Finca Flichman is one of thew oldest and most respected wineries in Argentina. The Flichman family tradition goes back to 1873. Today the winery is owned by the Portuguese wine maker Sogrape. The Flichman Chardonnay and Malbec wines are the most famous. I will look out for them and give it another go.


“To die for”: Argentinian wine

September 5, 2009

Last night we went out for a drink with friends. “To die for” was our aim, a fashionable hang-out place with the mildly decadent décor of sofa beds (divans) in the back yard in Thonglor, Bangkok. I chose a bottle of red from Argentina, a ‘2004 Trumpeter Reserve’ by Rutini Wines.

Rutini

What a pleasant surprise this wine was. Full-bodied, succulent with a good finish. Great drop from the new world. The wine is a blend of Tempranillo and Malbec to equal parts and the rest (about 30%) is Cabernet Sauvignon, a well rounded affair. 35 Euro in a restaurant in Bangkok is an OK price, I think.

We relaxed on the divan and watched the young fashionable Thais socializing. What a great end to a busy working week. Cheers folks


Intrigued by the label – Wine tasting in Taoyuan

October 29, 2008

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” (www.drinks.com.tw) , 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.


Wine Bars in Jakarta: Cork and Screw Wine Concept

March 24, 2008

It’s an unfortunate name, I agree, but the place is one of the most hip, the most vibrant and the most desirable place for a wine aficionado in Jakarta. It is a very relaxed place at the same time. Cork and Screw Wine Concept is a joint project of Vin + (one of the main wine shops in Jakarta, www.vinplus.biz) and other partners.

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We had the opportunity to visit it for the first time during their one-year-anniversary celebrations which were held recently. We liked the food and the wines and last Saturday was the perfect day to come back and visit again.

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One orders the food (provided by the KOI restaurant chain) and selects the wine from the many boxes where it is on offer at retail prices.

We had ordered dishes “around” beef tenderloin fillets and I selected a ‘2005 Clos de los Siete’, Mendoza, Argentina by Michel Rolland. This wine has 14.5% alcohol and is a blend of different varieties (on the back of the label it said, 45% Malbec, 35% Merlot, 10% Cabernet and Shiraz each) by Michel Rolland. His wines from Argentina have already earned a reputation and the 2005 we sampled was awarded 90/91 points by some wine tasters.

Michel Rolland (born 24 December 1947) is the foremost wine consultant from Bordeaux with more than a hundred clients all over the world. He owns several vineyard and winery properties in France (Bordeaux, Saint-Emilion, Fronsac), South Africa, Spain and Argentina.

The Clos de los Siete is a collaborative project of seven French wine producers under the leadership of Michel Rolland. They have collectively about 850 ha of which about half is currently under vines. Malbec is the dominant variety planted.

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The label shows a star with seven points representing the seven partners in the venture.

The price was 364,000 Indonesian Rupiah which corresponds to about 25.7 € (about 41 US$). When I researched it on the internet the next day, I found that it is sold in the UK for about 12 £ and in other places in Europe for 13 €. The taxes in Indonesia are high, so I did not mind the retail price at Cork and Screw.

According to information from the net, the grapes are handpicked and sorted twice, both before and after destemming. The grapes are cold soaked in steel tanks and fermented for five to seven days at 26 to 28 degrees. After malolactic fermentation, about one third of the wine is matured in vats and the rest in new French oak barrels. The grape mix for the 2005 vintage is sometimes also given as 40% Malbec, and 20% each for Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz. May that how it be.

I know that generally Malbec does not possess a strong finish; it is rather short at the end. I hoped that in this blend that would be less of an issue but it was not. I still liked the wine but should have chosen something with a stronger, and longer finish.

The wine is elegant, dry, full bodied with a moderate amount of tannins and generally well balanced. It displays aromas of plum, blueberry, chocolate and violet notes. However, its finish is anything but long. So nothing lingers around on the palate, which is a pity. Maybe a less of Malbec grapes in the blend would improve this deficiency.

The evening at Cork and Screw was a delight. I can only highly recommend the place to all the Jakartan wine and food lovers. See you there, hopefully soon.

Address:
Cork and Screw Wine Concept
Wisma Kodel, Ground Floor,
Jl. H.R.Rasuna Said Kav.B-4,
Jakarta 12920
Ph.: (021) 5290 2030.
Open: 12.00 – 24.00 WIB (Sunday-Thursday) and 12.00 – 02.00 WIB (Friday-Saturday).