Thursday, May 27, 2010

Malbec vs. Malbec

Tonight, for the first time, it's a fair fight. (I think.) Not only am I comparing one Malbec to another, but they are both freshly opened.

First we have Don Rodolfo's 2007 Malbec, which happens to have an annoyingly hard-to-read sideways label, but I have gone through the great effort of reading it for you to find that this wine is described as "big, rich, and deeply flavored, with notes of red berries, cassis, and plums." Sounds great, but of course I know that's the whole point of putting a description on the label--to make the wine sound good. I had to look up "cassis"--it's a synonym for "black currants," which I have heard of before. I hope you are relieved.

Next we have High Note 2008 Malbec, with a "deep violet hue, smooth velvety texture and vibrant fruit aromas." A slightly more generic description, but still sounds like something I might like.

So here is what I think of the two wines. The Rodolfo is a very deep brownish red, and the High Note looks almost identical except it is slightly more purple. I really can smell red berries, maybe strawberries, in the Rodolfo, and it makes me want to eat cheese with it which isn't such a good thing at this time of night. The High Note smells more bright and green. The Rodolfo is smooth and dry and spicy, and has a slight coffee-like aftertaste; the High Note really does feel velvety (just how suggestible am I?), and is even more dry, but is a little bit bland.

I think I prefer the Rodolfo, but I may need to do a blind test next time because I have a feeling I was swayed by the yummier label description. I also wonder how much difference the vintage makes between these two wines. Would the High Note be more complex and more enjoyable next year? Too bad I'll never know.

Here's something interesting about Malbec: Argentina (where both of these wines originated) is very well-suited to growing the Malbec grape, due to its high altitude, intense sunlight, cool temperatures and dry atmosphere.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

St. James Winery Strawberry Wine from Missouri

Finally a new post. It's been a while, hasn't it! Well, here's my excuse. After cutting back to just a couple of glasses of wine each week to avoid the fatness, it took me a while to finish off several open bottles I had on hand. I downed the rest of the final bottle last night in conjunction with a re-stocking trip to the Party Factory. In keeping with my new resolution to compare apples to apples, I bought two different bottles of Malbec, which you will be hearing about in a future post. (I would have purchased three or four, but the store only had 4 kinds of Malbec available, and I've already tried two of them. Obviously I bought the other two).

Now for Something Different. Just out of curiosity, I bought me a bottle of Strawberry Wine. It's in a screwcap bottle and there's no year on it, if that tells you anything. If not, the photo ought to say it all. It looks just like a bottle of strawberry soda pop. It's a pretty, clear, pinkish red color, and doesn't have much of a smell to it at all. I'm not getting the "hint of almonds and the essence of violets." Not surprisingly (especially since right there on the bottle it's called "sweet wine") it is very, very sweet. The only thing that keeps it from being a wine cooler is the lack of bubbles. That doesn't mean I don't like it, though. It's just that, for me, it really doesn't belong in the "wine" category. It fits with Cherry Limeade Frosties and Fufu Berry Jones Soda (both of which I really enjoy, but neither of which I turn to when in search of wine).

Bottom line: fun stuff, but even with 11.5% alcohol it doesn't deserve to be called wine.