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: 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: 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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Crush of the Week – Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2007

April 13, 2009 at 11:56 pm (Crush of the Week, Malbec Reviews) (, )

achaval-ferrer-malbec-20072The entry level (a blend from four vineyards) 2007 Malbec from Achaval-Ferrer is sure to please, especially on sale at $16.99 a bottle and with 91 points from Wine Spectator.  We enjoyed the beautiful core of racy fruit, dark raspberry and boysenberry with a piercing mineral streak on the finish along with a peppery, floral lift gives this a lot of intriguing complexity. Quite young and primary this should settle in nicely with a year or two of bottle age. Once again Achaval Ferrer has produced another rock solid effort and an outstanding value considering what’s in the bottle. Drink now through 2010.

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Star of Mendoza

January 13, 2009 at 11:09 pm (Crush of the Week, Food Pairing - Malbec, Malbec Reviews)

grapecluster2Malbec, one of the six red Bordeaux grape varieties, has come into its own in Argentina. It is usually used as a blending grape, except in Argentina and the Cahors region in southern France, where it is vinified as a stand-alone varietal. The grape, which now has 22 recognized clones in Argentina, came by way of Cahors. The Argentine clones produce smaller clusters with thinner skins resulting in sweeter tannins than that of Cahors fruit.

Between 1990 and 2006, Argentina’s Malbec plantings increased 133 percent. Today, Mendoza – Argentina’s most renowned winegrowing district – leads the way with 83 percent of the country’s Malbec vineyards.

Argentine Malbec, with its rich, dark fruit and relatively soft tannins, is sharing the stage with New World Merlot as an accessible, easy-to-taste wine, though there are many “serious” Malbecs with complexity and structure to age. Some of those wines are being produced by renowned winemakers – California’s Paul Hobbs and Bordeaux’s Michel Rolland – who are consulting and making wine alongside the Chilean wine giant Montes.

In 2007, Argentina exported almost 51 million liters of Malbec valued at $160 million, $50 million of which went to the United States, Argentina’s most important market.

As the quality of Argentine Malbec has increased, so have the prices, which are slowly creeping higher, with some flagship bottlings commanding triple digits. Production costs in Argentina remain relatively reasonable, so there are definitely values to be had. We’ve found several and hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

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