Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Reaching New Heights With Don Rodolfo Malbec

Three Winey Family
members hamming it up
on the ski slopes of Colorado
Today's wine is Don Rodolfo Malbec (2011, 13.5%, Argentina). The label proudly states that this is a high altitude vineyard (5,900 feet!). I am duly impressed, because I have a healthy fear and respect for high altitudes. Seems that I am one of the lucky people to suffer from altitude sickness, which makes it kind of tough when you consider that skiing is one of the Winey Family's favorite sports. And living in Ohio, where the altitude is definitely NOT high, we tend to migrate to higher levels. We've spent some amazing ski times throughout Colorado, Utah, the Canadian Rockies and before I hang my skis up, I will ski Whistler.  Anyway, once you've had a bout of this lovely little sickness, you are forever wary and never leave your ski chalet without your meds, a huge bottle of water and a ton of ibuprofen. Ask the Winey Daughter - who also suffers from it. One of her big vacation thrills in life is the night she spent hooked up to oxygen in Colorado at the age of 8. I know, we sure know how to show a kid a good time, don't we? But back to the wine.

In this case, high altitude is a good thing. The sun and the rain and the air hit these Argentinian vineyards first and with a great intensity, giving you some amazing Malbec grapes to start the process with. The result is a wine that is simply wonderful! The nose is full of raspberry and cherry and an overlying hint of toffee. Very fruity. The taste is of licorice and a host of berries - I detected the raspberry but also some strawberry and blueberry as well as the cherries again. It felt smooth in my mouth and finishes juicy with just enough tannins to give it some kick. Not one bit drying...just major flavor going on. No aerating needed either - the wine is so smooth and velvety that you don't need to let it breathe. An added plus is that this retails for around $9 a bottle! Bargain time!!

I opened this wine with the specific intent of using it in a sort of quick version of Coq Au Vin that I make on cold, nasty nights. (We have our share of them here - and let me tell you, without the ski mountains in the background, cold nasty nights are hard to take.) I used it to simmer chicken thighs, carrots, herbs and garlic and it gave such a wonderful flavor to the dish. It would be just as easy to splash a little into any gravy you are making and add the flavor that way as well. But save enough to sip - you won't want to miss much of this by letting your dead chicken swim in it.

Once again, I had to depend on my fine friends at The Wine Chateau to induce me to try a wine I never would have picked out on my own. That's the beauty of an on line store like the Chateau - they've always got something new or featured and most of the time, it's a wine I never would have thought to try - except that they recommended it! Check them out if you have a chance...the prices are great, the ideas are wonderful and let's face it, you'll get to wander through pages and pages of wine - so much more productive to learn about a new wine than to learn what your high school friend's dog just did on Facebook.


Note: the 2011 vintage may be sold out in some places, but never fear: the 2012 is out and ready to be sipped.

I was sent this wine for sampling purposes. The opinions are my own.

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