We spent another enjoyable evening at the Windward Grille with my co-workers last night. We had a few wine aficionados in the group and some that wanted to learn more. Our wines were all from Argentina, presented to us by Derek Ellerkamp of Ruby Wines Inc.
The dinner started off with Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes 2007. This unoaked white had notes of melon, litchi, apple, pear and a nice woody finish. This is a very clean and well balanced wine with moderate acidity. As the wine opened up, the lemon and grapefruit characteristics came through. This is a great wine that can be enjoyed on its own or with food. We had it with a spinach salad with Great Hill blue cheese.
After the salad course, we were presented with the Budini Chardonnay. Budini is the name of a wild cat from Argentina and a very appropriate name selection. The first sniff of this wine gave an earthy, mushroom smell (Uh-oh, usually not what I get excited about in a wine). Then there was a litchi-pineappley smell and something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until Taster B said, “Banana”. Boom. Fermented banana. In addition, pineapple, banana, clove, ginger, pear, marzipan/almond and rosemary aromas and flavors evolved. This wine had a lot of discord going on, although it harmonized when paired with a stuffed portabello mushroom appetizer. This chardonnay definitely needs food.
Next we were presented Crios Rosé of Malbec which is the third rosé we've had in the past week. This Malbec Rosé was a surprise. Earth notes gave way to cranberry, pomegranate, a little bit of bacon that quickly went away, (what was that?) strawberry, black pepper, and mineral. This little wine had it going on.
A lot of folks still poo-poo Rosé. Some of us think that we are going to see Rosé come back as people let go of the past plonky abomination White Zin that scared (or drove) them off. The trick is to appreciate a Rosé for what it is. You can't compare it to a big tannic red. You wouldn’t compare French Fries to you grandmother’s lasagna, right?
Next, Derek presented us with the Bundini Malbec. Once there were 40,000 acres of Malbec planed in Argentina. During the 1970’s, the wine industry was under the suppression of the Argentinian government that was on mission to plow in the vineyards. Today, about 20,000 acres are planted to Malbec. Malbec is the grape that put Argentina on the wine map. In Mendoza, the thin skin grapes take a long time to grow and these develop into flavorful wines with the long season.
The Bundini Malbec 2007 presented vanilla, chocolate/mocha, woody notes, cherry, elderberry, allspice, anise and licorice. Definitely New World boldness with that highly extracted, almost inky color, suede tannins and nice fruit and paired nicely with Filet Mignon. This is a big wine and I’m a little surprised to be drinking a wine where the ink on the label isn’t dry yet. It might tame down in the next couple of years. I don’t think it has the bones to go much longer than that.
Finishing up the night, we had Tiramisu and Ferreira 8 yr. Dona Antonia Port. This Portuguese offering was smooth and sweet, with silky tannins and bold cherry flavor with a nutty finish. I’m not a big port fan, but this one might be good to keep on hand just in case in never warms up in Massachusetts. It paired nicely with the Tiramisu.