When I stopped in last Saturday there were two South American reds open and both were varieties we don’t grow much of in New Zealand, Santa Ana Eco Malbec 2010 from Argentina ($22.50) and Chateau Los Boldos Carmenere 2008 from Chile ($24.95).
Malbec is Argentina's flagship variety and Santa Ana Winery is a quality producer based in the Maipu area of Mendoza (the main wine region in Argentina located in the foothills of the Andes). Santa Ana Eco is made from 100% organically grown, hand harvested Malbec. It is lush and ripe, packed with soft sweet blackberry and plum flavours. Very soft tannins mean this is great drinking right now.
Carmenere is Chile's signature grape - the red variety that disappeared from Bordeaux vineyards in the mid-19th century and reappeared among Chile's Merlot vines a hundred years later. Chateau Los Boldos is located in the Cachapoal Valley, in the Rapel region south of Santiago. The Momentos was made from 100% Carmenere, hand-harvested and aged 6 months in French (50%) and American (50%) oak barrels.
The Carmenere is a different beast to the silky malbec. Big, rich and supple this has classic flavours of blackberries and chocolate with plenty blackcurrant freshness to add some excitement. The tannins are a little more drying but pair it with a nice steak and an open fire and you have the perfect wet Saturday night in.
As well as these Saturday tastings (where the wines being tasted are always on special for the day) Ann also has monthly tutored tastings. These can cover anything from exciting new producers to the classic wines of Bordeaux and Champagne. To find out about these check out their website and register to get the weekly emails. www.casadelvino.co.nz
I have been drinking
Clearview Estate 2009 Enigma - $49.99 RRP
From a great Hawke’s Bay vintage this blended red is an absolute classic. Made from Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon the flavours are bursting with ripe, luscious fruit characters. The more you taste the more the wine offers as it opens up in the glass, from dark plum to sweet blackcurrent and savoury mushroom characters. While it is good drinking right now put a few bottles in your cellar for five years and you will have a great wine.
Seifried Estate 2011 Gewurztraminer - $25 RRP
My first taste of a 2011 vintage was anything but a disappointment. Made in a medium floral style rather than the deep and rich style we normally associate with Seifrieds lets the purity of fruit flavour shine. Fruit harvested in pristine condition means there isn’t a hint of honey, rather softly spiced sweet honeysuckle, powdery Turkish delight and supple lychee sweetness with a hint of cinnamon in the finish make it a wine to enjoy with flavoursome Asian foods or may as an aperitif with pate and cheese. Me, I prefer to just drink it on its own so I can savour the subtle complexities it delivers.