Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wine Boyz Go South

Par for the course, it's been far too long since we've managed to put together a gathering of the Wine Boyz - our little impromptu blind tastings (with whomever we can put together) to blindly taste wherever our theme may go. In fact, we haven't pulled off a tasting since last summer.

The actual Boyz that sip changes up pretty much every time we get together and four of our participants were newbies this time around - with Kaver & Katz joining us all the way from Arizona. Our other virgins - Nature Boy and Vice-Man - came all the way from across the lane.

The evening's theme - playing a bit with Boo's and my trip last Fall - was South American Reds. The wines chosen and the tasting results were both interesting and rather surprising.

733. N.V Familia Schroeder Deseado (Patagonia - Argentina)

As we waited for all the Boyz to arrive, we kicked off the evening with a little Argentine bubble - not the easiest of wines to find in our market. The fact that this one was even here to be grabbed is a little surprising seeing as how there were only 1750 cases made. We're a long ways away from Patagonia for such a limited release wine to make its way up here. Made in the Charmat method, the bubble was made from 100% Torrontes and was a semi-sweet start to the night.

N.V. Luis Pato Maria Gomes Vinho Espumante Bruto (Portugal)

We actually went through a second bottle of bubble before the real show started but we've already knocked one of them back (and added it to The List at #498) - at another Wine Boyz event as a matter of fact. Accordingly, we can't count it again. With this wine, we were cheating on the theme anyhow since it's from Portugal. But then, how many people have an extra bottle of South American sparkling wine just sitting around on a regular basis?

Seeing as how all the wines were brown-bagged and tasted blind, we didn't find out that I was the only one to bring wines that weren't from the from the Mendoza region in Argentina - until all the rankings were in and the wines had been revealed. I hadn't expected any Peruvian or Brazilian wines to be in the mix, but I thought we might see at least a couple from Chile instead of our lonely one. I don't know if that's an indication of where Vancouver tastes are when it comes to South American wines or not but it was a little surprising.

For the most part, there wasn't a whole lot of difference in how everyone reacted to the wines. Everyone ranks the wines from most to least favourite and we give points accordingly - 1 for favourite and 8 for least. Therefore, if one wine took all first place votes, it would end up with 8 points. Our winner only won by 4 points and only 3 points separated the next four wines. All it took was one person to dislike a wine to put a wine's final ranking at risk.

734. 2008 Bodega Vistalba Corte C (Mendoza - Argentina) (23 points)

I have to say that I was rather pleased to see that Vistalba finished first this evening. Vistalba was one of the wineries that Boo and I visited while in Mendoza and we were a tad surprised to find it at a number of bottle shops when we arrived back home. Although it wasn't anyone's favourite for the night, it was the second pick of five of us - with a third and fourth thrown in as well.

I never get much of a chance to talk about the wines in detail in recapping a Wine Boyz night but the Corte C is an 80/20 blend of Malbec and Cab Sauv. I think the Vancouver market still mostly thinks of Argentine wines as strictly Malbec, but Boo and I found that our faves while in Argentina generally tended to be blends. Hopefully, we'll continue to see more and more of them in our market.

735. 2005 Montes Alpha Syrah (D.O. Colchagua - Chile) (27 points)

Second place went to the lone Chilean wine that made it to the table. It was also the only Syrah. In a fit of cleaning that night, Boo tossed all the tasting notes that were left behind; so, I don't recall if a big difference was noted in general. However, the wine split the gang a bit more than any other. It received three first place votes (including mine); yet, it also took two 7th place votes.

The next three wines were only separated by one point. I think it's pretty fair to called them tied for third. All three of them received at least one first place vote.

736. 2007 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Single Vineyard Malbec (Patagonia - Argentina) (29 points)

The Del Fin del Mundo was the other "favourite" of the night in that it received three first place votes - like the Montes Syrah; however, from first it went to two 4th's, a 5th, 6th and 7th. Funny that it was a bit of a "love it or loathe it."

Not that any of the wines were truly "loathed." There wasn't a heck of a lot left of any of the wines at the end of the night.

737. 2009 Bodega Clop y Clop - Los Clop Malbec (Mendoza - Argentina) (29 points)

Not a wine that I've seen before. It was right there in the middle of the pack and no one particularly disliked it - the "worst" it fared on the evening was three 5th place votes.

738. 2008 La Posta Bonarda (Mendoza - Argentina) (30 points)

The only Bonarda, the fact that someone even found or thought to bring a Bonarda to the tasting was neat. Ending right up there with the other wines is a good indication that there may well be a market for more Bonarda wines to make it up to our market.

739. 2009 Bodegas Bianchi - Arrabal (Mendoza - Argentina) (43 points)

740. 2007 Luigi Bosca Reserva Malbec (Mendoza - Argentina) (44 points)

Again, not much these two wines. Both wines picked up one second place vote; then the only real difference between them was one third place vote for the Arrabal. Except for the second place votes, I don't think there were many Boyz wrtiting down the names to run out and buy either of these teo wines.

741. 1983 Weinert Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza - Argentina) (63 points)

Unfortunately, there was little doubt that this was the least favourite of the evening's wines - and that's right, it was a 1983 vintage. Tyrant pulled this one from out of his cellar and thought it would be a treat to serve. It's not too often that our crowd gets to sample an aged wine like this. The bottle wasn't corked, but it had clearly lost any of the charm it likely held in years past. It pulled in seven of eight last place votes and the one dissenter ranked it second to last. In a way, it's too bad that Boo tossed the note sheets because there were some doozies when it came to the nose on this wine. If memory serves, some involved locker room aromas while others related to unsavoury bodily functions. I doubt the folks at Weinert would have wanted those descriptors detailed though.

I suppose it goes to show that not all wines are meant to be cellared. I'm sure, however, that this was a fine wine in its day. We've previously had another Weinert wine (back at #98) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I won't be scared off from the winery - but I might be a little selective if the vintage appears to be getting on.

All in all, a grand affair. There were laughs galore and the Boyz didn't leave until well after midnight. I did hear, however, of at least a couple slow morning after's that were encountered. I'll have to make sure that it doesn't take nearly so long to get the next one organized.

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