It’s official. Winter’s here and only wine can save you. More specifically, these buxom blends that curl around your feet and work their way up your body, enveloping you in their liquid embrace, can save you.
Here are five UV light boxes disguised as bottles of wine for under AR $280 to make it through to September 21st.
La Giostra del Vino Bacán Blanco Clásico 2015
If the thought of holding a glass of chilled white fills you with horror this winter, the solution is simple: employ some hired help to raise aforementioned vessel to your lips (Bianca Fernet would surely agree with this investment). It’ll be worth every centavo because La Giostra del Vino Bacán Blanco Clásico 2015 is a blazing white blend that opens your palate up like the Grand Canyon, leaving you begging for a) more wine and b) more food. That’s right, it will also help fatten you up for winter.
A crunchy white, this Bacán features an unusual mix, predominantly Chardonnay with sidekicks Sauvignon Blanc and Torrontés for soaring acidity and freshness. Made by Italian winemaking stallion Giuseppe Franceschini, known for his stellar work at Caelum and a tiny whites side project for Onofri Wines, ‘El Tano’ also makes what is widely touted as Argentina’s best Sauvignon Blanc, La Giostra del Vino Bacán Reserva 2014. Side note: Bacán is short for bacchanal, and who doesn’t want to be part of a ‘a wild and drunken celebration’ as often as your liver deems possible?
From Almacén Otamendi, AR $220.
La Poderosa Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2015
Bodega Del Fin del Mundo
Working our way up the blends scale, this Patagonian red features two native Bordeaux grapes: ultra hip Cabernet Franc that every last Argentine winery is frantically planting to keep up with demand, and Merlot, usually overlooked for not being as flamboyant as Malbec, as sophisticated as Cabernet Sauvignon or as delicate as Pinot Noir. Give it a chance! Merlot is actually my chosen red grape for 2016, which means hunting it down and sipping it at every opportunity, appropriate or otherwise. Both cépages are Patagonian success stories, perfectly adapted to the rugged south’s terroir so it’s worth a second look. This is a cheerful young blend, created in tribute to Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s trusty metal steed: fun, flighty but also serious in the same breath.
Decent entry level blend at AR $150 from reputable Asian supermarkets.
Tajungapul Montaña 2013
No idea what’s in this blend. Its producer doesn’t know either. Basically, the team behind Tajungapul Wines (slang stemming from ‘junta pulga’ or mutt) has rescued this and a cluster of other mongrel wines – that had been produced but simply weren’t selling – and given them a new lease of life. I stocked Tajungapul Montaña 2013 – a five-grape symphony – at a recent Come Wine With Us wine-by-the-glass event and that intrigue caught on instantly, making it the first sellout of the night. And at the end of the day, most of you wine heathens have no idea what you’re knocking back anyway, so let’s be honest about it for once.
We don’t know and we don’t care. For their 2016 vintage, Tajungapul Wines plans to work the aforementioned Tano Franceschini so great things are in the pipeline. For what it’s worth, I reckon Montaña is a Bordeaux tribute starring Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc because it has plenty of depth, complexity, velvet tannins and red and black fruit. As for the label itself, it’s given a home to a loveable tajungapul – and you should too.
Tajungapul AR $250
Five friends, four grapes sourced from Paraje Altamira in trendy Uco Valley, one blend. In fact Traslapiedra has a bit of a rockstar biography, given that one of Onda Vaga’s founders Germán Cohen, is part of this winemaking band that also features Juanfa Suarez from Finca Suarez (he collaborates with a little trumpet action when the five-piece tours). And having been on a monstrous bender with Juanfa and his cousin Santiago, there’s no need to imagine the ‘research’ that went into making it…
Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon dominate, with a little help from friends Merlot and, unusually, Pinot Noir. This vintage wasn’t a particularly easy one, according to Juanfa, plus they lost one concrete egg’s worth of juice. But they managed to turn it around and produced 6,000 bottles. Not overly complex but certainly amiable, there’s plenty of blackberry and plums, ripe fruit with a hint of eucalyptus freshness. Knock it back in great company to the tune of Mambeado.
Bonus track: this bottle comes with a red 3D lens. Look through it at the label’s whale, designed by artist Federico Lamas, for a freaky, x-rayesque, perspective.
M Salumeria AR $250.
Bienconvino Carnes Rojas 2014
I’m a big fan of the clever concept behind Bienconvino and while I’ve raised the flag on the Pescados & Mariscos edition, but this is your winter warmer. Created by dynamic sommelier duo Valeria Mortara (head wine guru at the Faena) and Mariana Achaval, this line takes the hard work out of thinking what wine to purchase. ‘Tonight folks, I’m grilling some rib-eye.’ What’s more logical than drinking a wine that’s been specifically designed to pair up with steak? Nothing.
Sample it on its own, it’s a bit of a tannin monster. Start chewing down some barbecued cow and that intensity eases up, letting this Malbec–Cabernet Franc blend sourced from Vista Flores in Uco Valley sing. Well-structured, plenty of red and black fruit, like plums, and also a hint of peppercorns typical to our friend Franc. Class in a glass.
From Aldo’s Restorán & Vinoteca, AR $273