Tag Archive: Malbec

College Cellars Continued

The remaining wines from the Walla Walla Enology & Viticulture Center:

Syrah 2014: By far, my favorite of the bunch, according to the four hearts I drew next to it! This was co-fermented with 7% Viognier, which adds preservative qualities, preserving color, adds green grape aromatics, with almost a Gewurztraminer spice. This wine is much more fresh than I’ve ever had with a straight Syrah. There are hints of spruce, and juniper. It would have been excellent with cedar plank salmon and a beautiful, joyful finish that is constantly evolving.

Cab “Seven Hills” 2015 – This cab is young, but it’s rich and luscious with dense fruit. The tannins don’t overpower this wine. The tannins and fruit aren’t warring, they’re dancing, in red velvet slippers. This cab smells of earth, tilled farm soil, and has a beautiful balance, with anise seeds and dark cherries.

GSM 2015 – A typical name that I would see through out my visit. This stands for Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. This is a nice, simple wine, for all that’s blended into it. It is cherries and eucalyptus, and would be great with food.

Carmenere 2015: This Carmenere is a rich herbal paint splash of licorice, anise seeds, celery and basil, outlined in staunch red fruit, and forest greens. If I recall correctly, Tad said, “It’s like one big green grape, trying to stuff itself up your nose.”

Malbec 2015 – This Malbec is precisely what you would expect of a Malbec. It’s nicely herbal, with a pleasing balance between tannin and red plum juice. It’s weight is surprisingly hefty, contributed to by the Oak Program that the Enology & Viticulture Center offers its students as a learning tool.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Enology & Viticulture Center. I hope to return at some point, and spend more than just a delightful afternoon there.



Crios Rose of Malbec, by Susana Balbo in Argentina is a beautiful shade of deep magenta. The nose is lovely, with guava, cherries and flinty notes. Over the palate, it is similar, with watermelon, and surprising residual sugar.
After the first two rose’s, this wine is too heavy for my personal taste. It’s much too fruity, with too little body, and a terrible finish. The wine has a mouth feel, which is strange for a rose’, and it clings to the tongue too long, and turns sour at the back of the palate. While the Crios Rose might be lovely for one person, it certainly wasn’t for me. Crios Rose’ of Malbec is like a bad relationship with too much sugar, not enough substance, and a terrible, sour ending.

Skeleton Malbec 2013

Skeleton Malbec from Mendoza Argentina is a deliciously juicy, almost lascivious malbec. While it isn’t a good representation of the grape, it stands on its own rather well. In fact, I’d say that it barely plays well with others, but merely tolerates them out of the corner of its eyes. Skeleton Malbec is ripe with velvety blackberries, red plums, and figs. It’s not a super complicated wine, but its been adapted to suit American tastes- This wine is almost syrupy, it’s so thick with either residual sugar or chaptalization. This wine is …. no terrible, but I’d expect a headache in the morning.
It’s perfect candy for adults on Halloween.

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.

Coliman’s Bonarda/Malbec blend 2012 from Mendoza Argentina is belly-rubbing red velved, with big bright red plums, red cherries, cranberries, but most prominent is the dried apricot flavors and aromas. This wine is shockingly full of dried stone fruits, peaches, apricots, and nectarines.

CLos la Coutale 2010

This red blend from Cahors France is a stunner, and takes a moment to open up. It’s a bled of 80% Malbec, 20% merlot by Philippe Bernede, and imported by Kermit Lynch. When it does open, this wine is a deep pool of savory herbs, hints of violets, roes juicy blackberries, and a huge black plum body. It has a great spicy finish that melts away into black plum, and luscious fruit.

Clos La Coutale 2010

Clos La Coutale 2010 from Cahors France is a splendid blend of 80% malbec and 20% merlot. The merlot lends spice and structure to the giant juice of the malbec. This wine, imported by Kermit Lynch, takes some time to open up, but it has beautiful savory herbs, hints of violets, roses and super juicy black plums and blackberries. It has a fantastic spice to its finish, but as it opens, it gives way to luscious black fruit, with an enticing finish. This wine is fabulous, France’s slight biting tongue, with all the relaxing drizzle out in the countryside.

Clos La Coutale 10

This was one of the greater gems that I encountered at the Benny’s Bistro Kermit Lynch tasting. This wine was not only affordable, but also had that romantic quality that some reds do, though you normally find them in the more expensive reds, like those from E. Guigal. La Coutale Cahors is a malbec, which is originally from France, even though it’s South America that’s known for the malbecs today.La Coutale Cahors is velvety, bursting with juice, and even though it drinks brilliantly right now, it can be aged.

La Coutale Cahors is fruit forward, sweet, almost candied cherries, roses, musky cinnamon, lilacs, and plums. I loved this wine so much, I ordered it for the store for regular stock.

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.