V-e-r-r-r-y In-ter-est-ing, as Henry Gibson used to say on Laugh-In. Last night at the regular Friday tasting we did three whites and four reds and as may have been predicted, the whites weren't popular at all. The seasons have changed and the temperature has dropped, so Voila!
The reds included our bargain Spanish Tempranillo, Protocolo, and three Argentine Malbecs. Here's the interesting part: The Malbecs ranged in price from $8 to $16 with the high and low end examples being very good efforts in their own right while the $12 sleeper bottle in the middle was more than a little earthy and vegetal. Would you like to guess which was the tasting winner last night?
That middle bottle, of course, would be little Dante Robino Malbec, a semi-regular inhabitant of these parts, but this 2009 version was definitely stinkier than I had remembered from the past and I never thought it would outshine the other two. So, what gives? Well, the wine had a breadth and complexity (including its vegetality) that was superior to the others and the tasters, who all come from good homes to my knowledge, may have represented an atypical segment of our population. Three of us were raised in immigrant or first generation American homes. We were weaned on European foods that may have included sauces and stews that a wine like Dante may compliment. Just a theory. The other theory would be that we all have superior palates...nah!
Protocolo was a hit as always and it sold well at the case price bottle cost of $7.19. One week ago we tasted it here with one participant claiming then that it was comparable to the $16 Spanish red on the table. So if you need a red house wine for the fall, stop in and pick up a case of Protocolo, which may go away at the end of the month as new holiday offerings emerge.
Alamos Malbec was the $8 bottle in our tasting and it was light and a little disappointing, especially compared to Protocolo. The Alamos Chardonnay was also on the table last night but we didn't open it when little interest was shown in it. It is actually one of the most popular wines in the store and shares that same $7.19 case bottle cost which, again, I am not sure we can keep going forward.
Next Friday (September 28th 5-7pm) Tommy Basham of Continental Beverage returns to our parts for a tasting that will include Sextant California Zinfandel and a real hit from the past, Coto de Hayas Fagus, a Spanish red blend utilizing hundred year old vine fruit. Next week's tasting will be a fund raiser for the Susan G. Komen, Atlanta 3-day, 60 mile hike for a cure for breast cancer. I have two daughters involved and they have to raise close to $5000 for the cause. Please come and taste and support this effort.