Tag Archive: Argentina

Malamado 2010

Malamado is a Port-style wine made with malbec grapes. It’s an interesting wine made by the Zuccardi family in Mendoza Argentina. Port has come under a stricter eye lately, being one of those products that the country of origin is attempting to reclaim. Many cheeses were in the news recently for the same reason (Europe wanted Parmesan Cheese among others, to be tied to Parma, where it originated.) There’s a hullabaloo about quality assurances and place of origin. Frankly to put my foot down, and fork, perhaps I agree. If something isn’t made in it’s place of origin, it’s a style- no place can have the same natural yeasts, or the same natural microbes as another,and it does alter the flavors of foods.

This wine is rich, full of red fruit, cassis, blackberries, unripe blueberries, candied nuts and raisins. It’s stampedes over the plains of my palate like a herd of wild horses across the plains, rushing me on to strawberry preserves on home made farm bread, near a dappled aple orchard where the scent of overripe apples splitting on the ground wafts over the green leaves and mulchy undertones.

Malamado is really neat because not only is it a Port-style wine, fortified with Brandy, but it’s made with malbec grapes. Typically the grape varietal in traditional ports is often Malvasia (among many other obscure names). Island Liqour is the only place in Montana to carry this particular wine, as far as I know.


Finca Las Nubes means “Farm in the Clouds,” and is named for the elevation. It comes from Valle De Cafayate in Salta Argentina, and at 6,000 feet on a plateau, it comes from a higher elevation than any other Argentinean wine. This high flying stunner is a brilliantly smooth dance of blueberries, black berries, and sweet raspberries. Finca Las Nubes is laced with sage and other brambled herbal notes with a welcoming open tart finish.

This was by far the most popular wine of the Argentina/Chile table last night. The bright blue label certainly helped. This Malbec is of medium body, well balanced tannins and acid. Many of the other wines at the table were big, and tannic, older, and meant to be aged. This wine wasn’t nearly as intimidating.

Last night was Helena’s annual big wine event, The Wine Crush, which is a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters. With tickets at $75 +, it’s hard for the average person to get in unless you happen to either be asked to, or offer to volunteer! I was asked to pour for George’s Distributing and was assigned to their Argentina and Chile table.  There were some really lovely wines, a great live auction and fabulous foods represented. In attendance were Benny’s Bistro, Park Avenue Bakery, The Vanilla Bean Bakery, The Creperie, and numerous other booths.

The wines at these events are represented in a wide range of regions, countries, continents and price ranges. The tickets are high to cover the costs of the wine, at each table there were at least 6 different wines, and two bottles of each. In normal tastings, there are folks who simply come to get as many glasses of wine as they can for free, and end up having to call the free-rides service home. Much to my joy, this was one of those rare tastings that insisted upon being a TRUE tasting.

At the table I poured for were the following wines:

1. Finca Las Nubes, a Malbec brought in from Vine Connections
2. Medalla Real Gran Riserva, a Cabernet by Santa Rita
3. Triple C, a red blend by Santa Rita17303_607439430000_1715868240_n NV_ChateauMusar_Jeune_Red
4. Riglos, a Gran Malbec by Paul Hobbes
5. Tobiano, a Pinot Noir by the Kingston Family Vinyards
6. Primus, The Blend, a red blend from Chile

I tasted each, and a few others along the way, and will be reviewing them in the following days. I highly recommend that at some point in your lives, that you volunteer to pour for a wine event or tasting. It’s an excellent way to be a part of things, help out, and get to taste some really amazing wines you (and I) might not normally be able to afford.

cropTierra de Antes Chardonnay is a lovely crisp, mineral blast from Mendoza Argentina. It appears day-bright in the glass, and is absolutely full of crisp pink lady apple, white stone minerality, honey suckle, hints of lemon zest and tropical yellow fruits, but they aren’t as over-powering as they could be. Tierra de Antes Chardonnay has a fabulous mouth-feel beginning with creamy understated oak, then sparkles across the palate to a lemon butter finish that is almost reminiscent of a South African Chenin Blanc, but it possesses a fuller body.

Ladies and Gentleman, this is summer in a bottle. If ever I were to sum up my happiest summer memories of lounging around in a park, or by the beach, this would be it, bottled and sold. 10 out of 10.

tradioSanta Julia’s Tardio, the late harvest Torrontes from Argentina sparkles with guava, melon, pear, dried fruits, crisp golden delicious, and candied pears. his wine is a swim in clear water with the sun sparkling down through the water over sun kissed skin. Tardio offers up a lasting apple and warm melon finish that sparkles across the palate.

Santa Julia is a “collection” named for the daughter of the Zuccardi family. The wines under this label, the Santa Julia name, are mostly organic in my experience. They are decently straight forward, but luscious and welcoming. I have also found them to be decent representations of the grapes that they represent, though , as always, that is up for personal opinion.

I was impressed by Tardio, and purchased it on several occasions, finding it a delicious pairing with lamb biryani and chicken curry. As a fruit forward, and honeyed wine, it complements both aromatic and intense spicy dishes. This is my go-to wine for Indian night with friends.