The Catena family has been making wines in Argentina for over 100 years so you’d assume they know something about wine. Longevity does not equate with quality though.
Let’s check out their Alamos Selección 2018 Malbec from Mendoza in Argentina. On the nose this black cherry purplish colored wine is rich and dense. It is bursting at the seams with blackberry, black currant, cassis and Chambord. On the palate equally dense, prolific and creamy blackberry, fresh baked blueberry pie with tinges of coconut. Although not a complex wine there is some beauty in its direct and forward power. Although you can sip it with pleasure it is one of those wines that teams up better with food such as a grilled Argentinian meat platter. When the label says the wine has a deep-lush finish that is entirely accurate. Matching this with vegetarian dishes is more problematic perhaps portobello burgers or a very rich pasta sauce with San Marzano tomatoes. If you know how to make a good black bean burger, unlike me, there is the texture and taste to pair well with Malbec. You really can’t lose with this wine. It feels like 15% alcohol on this but it is a “mere” 13.5%.
(Alamos Selección 2018 Malbec, Mendoza, Bodega Alamos, Vista Flores, Tunuyán, Argentina, $16.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 32280, 750 mL, 13.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 93/100).
While the Catena family has been in play in Argentina you might want to call Susana Balbo a relative newcomer producing high quality wines. Her Malbecs and Torrontés are winners but this is my first dive in her Signature White Blend a combination of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Torrontés.
On the nose this platinum-coloured wine has aromas of zingy lime, Sauvignon Blanc on steroids and white grapefruit. Delightfully weird and unique. It is as if there is a fight amongst a Torrontés and Sauvignon Blanc that creates a mushroom cloud of singular uniqueness. On the palate the riot on the palate has domesticated itself and calmed down. Unfortunately, the grapefruit has rather taken over somewhat like a Niagara Riesling stopping short like Frank Constanza on Seinfeld and the thrill of the aromatics dies on the palate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQmtOkO6ajc
(Susana Balbo Signature White Blend 2020, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina, $21.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 5558734, 750 mL, 12%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 83/100).