Thursday, January 19, 2012

A New(ish) & Welcome Take from Argentina

Yippee, the snow has stuck around for a bit and I've finally caught up with my post for Wine Blogging Wednesday 73. Problem is that I'm still well behind on my posts and the time for WBW74 has already arrived. Nothing like posting out of sync so that, to regular readers, it looks like you've just stalled out for awhile. Sorry about that. There's no guarantee that there will even be a WBW75. If there isn't, the confusion might disappear. Regardless, I'll just have to try and keep up with the present as much as possible.

1048. 2006 Doña Paula Shiraz-Malbec (Mendoza - Argentina)

Despite not seeing any snow on the background Andes Mountains, one of the more pleasant surprises Boo and I came across, while we were touring Argentina in 2010, was that blended wines are far more common than we are used to seeing in the Vancouver (and likely North American) market. Straight varietal wines - primarily Malbec (no surprise there) - still make up the majority of Argentine listings in our provincial liquor board stores. Doña Paula was pretty quick to gain a favourable rep in our market for good valued, well made Malbec. So, I thought a bottle of their Shiraz-Malbec would be a pretty safe bet.

Doña Paula is still a relative newcomer on the Mendoza wine scene. The winery is part of the Claro Group - a Chilean wine investment group that also produces well known brands Viña Santa Rita and Viña Carmen among others. The Claro Group started researching possible sites in Menoza in 1990 and acquired their first vineyard in the Luján de Cuyo district in 1997. They added a Tupungato vineyard in 1998 and expanded into the Uco Valley in 2005-2007.

Doña Paula's first harvest was in 1999; however, they can now produce up to 7 million litres of wine a year. Right from the beginning, the winery started concentrating on the international market and, after only 2 years in the global market, Wine & Spirits magazine named them its Value Brand of the Year in 2004. At present, 97% of the winery's production is exported.

And that's a good thing for us - because Doña Paula is very good at capturing the whole Argentina, New World, easy drinking vibe. I still don't run across many Shiraz/Malbec blends. Both are obviously great varietals for blends, but I find that they tend to be blending with anything but each other - maybe that's because it's not a traditional French blend from Bordeaux or the Rhone.

Doña Paula looks for the spice of the Shiraz to marry nicely cherry and herb notes of their Malbec. The 60/40 blend worked for me. Being a 2006 vintage, it looks like we must have had it lying around for awhile. When I get off this No Buy Leash, I might have to look for some more.

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