Crush of the Week: Achaval-Ferrer Quimera Mendoza 2003

September 15, 2009 at 10:17 pm (Crush of the Week, Malbec Reviews) (, , , )

Any of the Quimera wines by Achaval-Ferrer are truly a pleasure to drink.  Really really lovely stuff.  According to Wine Spectator the Quimera 2003 is a “Really juicy red, with raspberry, red currant and boysenberry fruit flavors mixed with racy mineral, briar and floral notes. Long, mouthwatering finish brings you back for more. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. ” –JM

If we were using any more than 1/2 a cup in the braised Duck recipe I would never recommend cooking with it but it does make a lovely sauce.

Achaval Ferrer Quimera 2003


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What are Your Favorite Malbecs? Torrontes?

July 29, 2009 at 11:36 pm (For the Love of Wine, Malbec Reviews, Torrontes Reviews)

Send us your favorite Malbec and tell us why it’s your favorite.  we’ll check ’em out and review them on the site. Post to the comments here or catch us on twitter or facebook.


yep, that's right, we do it just like dancing with the stars

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Crush of the Week: 2007 Sagta Torrontés

July 29, 2009 at 10:02 pm (Crush of the Week, Torrontes Reviews)

Yow! This is our first Torrontes review. enjoy.

Sagta Torrontes

This wine is delightful with light smoke and a floral character reminiscent of jasmines and roses. There are voluptuous aromas of tangerine and ripe pears. On the palate, the wine has crisp and lively acidity with flavors of fresh peaches and bright citrus. Enjoyable finish.

A little trivia … SAGTA means ‘very beautiful one’.



Sub-Region: SALTA

Release Price: $11 but find it cheaper here!

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Torrontes: The White Grape of Argentina

July 16, 2009 at 12:04 am (Food Pairing - Torrontes, For the Love of Wine, Torrontes Reviews) ()

If you first tried Torrontes a few years ago, you may have been overwhelmed by Eau de Cologne florals  that quickly fall off to a flat and flabby finish.  We’ve tasted a few recently and we’re impressed with the improved quality of the Torrontes .  While still opening with a strong floral scent, today’s wines seem to have a much crisper texture, with an elegant, medium-weight body and generally have a powerful punch of peach and citrus flavors, similar to Viogniers.  Torrontes is a great sipping or “stand-alone” wine.  It’s terrific with salads, cheeses and grilled/smoked meats and can hold its own against spicy dishes as well.

Could Torrontes be the next Pinot Grigio sensation?   Argentina Vintners (and a few others) would like to think so.  Ambitious wineries are looking to reproduce the Malbec sensation with Torrontes and through some very similar tactics and we’re really excited to watch this market grow.   Again, we love the quality to price point ratio.

Torrontes, the only grape considered indigenous to Argentina, is also the most popular and widely grown white grape in Argentina.  This native  white grape is grown mainly in the provinces of Catamarca, La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta, San Juan and Rio Negro.  Salta produces wines that are less flamboyant, but tend to be more crisp, whilst those from Mendoza are intense and ‘bigger’ wines.

And for a touch of trivia … In Chile, Torrontes grapes are grown primarilly for the production of Pisco. Try ordering a Pisco sour next time you’re our at a nice cocktail bar.  yum.

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In Honor of Summer, I Relent …

July 14, 2009 at 11:08 pm (Food Pairing - Torrontes, For the Love of Wine, Torrontes Reviews)

Summer days are precious in the Pacific Northwest and nothing says summer like a chill glass of white wine. So while we will continue to cover all things Malbec, I wanted to branch out and touch on Torrontes – the white grape that is as genuinely Argentine as Malbec.


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Crush of the Week: Pascual Toso Malbec 2008

July 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm (Crush of the Week, Malbec Reviews) (, )

We’re really excited about Pascaul Toso’s 2008 Malbec.   The 2006 vintage won Wine Enthusiast’s top wine of the year in 2007 and this wine seems to only gain in value and structure with each vintage.

Pascual TosoThe release price for the 2008 Malbec is $13 but we found it here for under $9 … buy it! It was already had a great price to quality ratio at $13.
The 2009 Pascaul Toso leads with an enticing, foresty, violets and blackberry fruited nose. The mouth has a mild bouquet, cherry and licorice with smooth, fleshy texture balanced by bright acids.  With a bit of exposure to air, a characteristic whiff of wood smoke emerges.  Rich and long finish with hints of vanilla and lingering oak.  Enjoy with pasta, red meats and white meats in light cream sauces. According to Wine Spectator: “Shows a mix of dark toast, currant and plum sauce notes, with fruitcake and blueberry hints on the rather
toasty finish. Drink now. 90,000 cases made.”

Varietal: Malbec
Winery: Bodegas y Vinedos Pascual Toso
Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Vintage: 2008
Release Price: $13
Wine Spectator Score: 87

Established in 1890, Pascual Toso is one of the oldest and most
prestigious wineries of Argentina with a strong commitment to
excellence and quality. It is located in Maipu, one of the premium
wine-producing regions of Argentina. Check out their site here.

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Crush of the Week: Black Mountain Malbec Sangria

June 30, 2009 at 10:54 pm (Crush of the Week, Malbec Reviews) (, , )

I hope everybody’s planning for a happy festive 4th of July.  There’s nothing like independence and a long weekend to put a smile on your face.   We’re doing a bbq this year and I was looking for something, festive, cheap and boozy.  My answer: Malbec Sangria.  You’re probably thinking ‘hey baby, you’re a touch late for Cinco de Mayo.’ But, hey, we do Malbec here and I had a craving; so just go with it.   It’s a good cheap way to make a crowd chatty and social.

You should use a cheaper Mabec here since we’re just going to drown it with fruit. We picked up a couple bottles of the Black Mountain Malbec at Trader Joes for under $5 a bottle.  Not bad stuff.  Not robust but smooth and drinkable, some spice and dried fruit flavors. I’m thinking it’ll work real nice in a Sangria.

black mountain

Here’s the Sangria recipe I’ll be using … I decided to throw in a little tequila for a bit of extra buzz.

Malbec Sangria


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 cups Malbec wine
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1-2 cup sparkling water

Garnish – any of these will work

  • orange slices
  • lemon slices
  • lime slices
  • apple slices
  • strawberries


  1. Boil the sugar and water together in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is clear. Set the syrup aside to cool.
  2. In a large pitcher or punch bowl, mix together the sugar syrup, wine, juices, and liquors.
  3. Just before serving time, stir in the sparkling water. Add the fruit slices and a lot of ice either to the sangria or to the individual glasses or cups.
  4. Serve chilled.


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Crush of the Week: Familia Cassone Finca La Florencia

June 10, 2009 at 8:52 pm (Crush of the Week, Malbec Reviews)

la florencia

This week we’re crushing of the Finca La Florencia Malbec. The Familia Cassone estates sit on a 90 year old vineyards located in Drummond, Lujan de Cuyo, Mandoza. This tasty little beauty is aged 6 months in 2nd and 3rd use French and American oak barrels. We really appreciated its Intense red fruit aromas, with delicate touched of spice and pepper, fresh and herbaceous. On the palate, its soft and ripe tannins let you enjoy a long lasting and substantial finish. We found it here for under ten bucks a bottle.  We recommend drinking it now with no need to for further aging.

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Crush of the Week: Melipal Malbec Reserve 2005

May 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm (Crush of the Week) (, , , )

This week we tasted the Melipal Malbec Reserve 2005 and enjoyed its Intense ruby red with some bluish, almost black, tinges. Mature red fruit, black currants, cooked plums, white chocolate, smoke and spices. Pleasant sweet tannins, full-bodied and long persistent finish.  The Wine Spectator found it to be “concentrated but very fresh, with tasty raspberry and blackberry fruit backed by briar and sweet spice notes. There’s solid grip on the finish. Drink now through 2010.”
Melipal is a very new winery that exports to the US almost exclusively.  Excellent! More for us here in the states and this is definitely a bodega to watch. The property is situated in the hail danger zone of Agrelo, with Susana Balbo and Pedro Marchevsky’s Dominio del Plata on one side and Ruca Malen on the other.  Its run by the young couple Santiago and Clarissa Santamaria. They’re based in Buenos Aires where Clarissa is studying design (she designed the labels) and the wines are made by an Italian winemaker and a local agronomist. See their website for some more details.

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Crush of the Week: Yellow + Blue = Green

April 21, 2009 at 10:10 pm (Crush of the Week, Malbec Reviews) (, , )


This week we’re crushing on the 2007 Malbec from upstart Yellow + Blue.  A lot of the buzz around Yellow + Blue from Vinas De Alto Salvador focuses on its green packaging. Hey, it’s why we picked it for the Earth day review. The Tetra Pak claims to cut a wine’s carbon footprint in half. I like that.

Matthew Cain, who worked for many years with the famous importer Kermit Lynch, set out to make an environmentally conscientious wine. He found organically grown Malbec grapes in Argentina and decided to forgo a glass bottle and instead use a paper container. In other countries, he noted, “people are using alternative packaging to bring down the cost of wine. It’s not just for poor wine but for good wine. Here in the US, it’s only been used as a gimmick.” He added about his wine, “I’ve been in the fine wine trade my entire life and I have no interest in bad wine.”

So, Ok, it looks like the juice boxes your mom always packed in your lunch. All that aside, we think it’s really tasty.  We enjoyed the well-balanced tannins and the complex aromas of berries, plum, orange rind, spice and leather without feeling overwhelmed by fruit.  Made from 100% certified organic grapes, hand-harvested and cold-fermented with indigenous yeasts, tank aged (no oak), Yellow + Blue is off to a great start in both taste and responsible packaging.  I look forward to more from this winery.

While boxed wines still struggle with image issues, the green media has been giving them lot of love lately and for good reason. Here are some compelling facts:

– A full one-liter Tetra Pak is 95% wine and 5% packaging. A full wine bottle is 55% wine and 45% packaging.
– For the containers that don’t make it to the recycling bin, you can drink and discard thirty Tetra Paks before you take up the same space as one glass bottle in the landfill.
– If 80% of retail wine sold in the U.S. was changed from glass to Tetra, it would be the equivalent of taking almost 400,000 cars off of the road.
– You get a whole liter, 33.3% more wine then a standard wine bottle.

Go here for a great article by Dr. Vino detailing the shipping process and carbon footprint of Yellow + Blue.

Go here to find this tasty little wine for a fantastic price.

And have a great earth day. Cheers!

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