Thursday, September 25, 2014

Winey Tasting Notes: The Lure of the Sale: Unsung Hero Malbec

It's kind of a well known fact that you don't have to spend a ton of money to get a great bottle of wine. (And yet, I still can't resist telling the Winey Hubby I'm going to order the $300 bottle of champagne every time we go to a restaurant that carries such bottles. He doesn't even blink anymore when I say it, so I know the joke has worn thin.) I will admit to being curious about a wine with such a price tag though. I mean, aren't you? Is it that good, really??

Mendoza Vineyards Unsung Hero Malbec, picture of front wine labelThankfully, the wine industry is not against the idea of a sale. And every once in a while I run across an expensive (in my Winey World) bottle of wine on sale for such a great price that I cannot pass it up. (For instance: Concannon Conservancy Cabernet Sauvignon, Hey MAMBO Chardonnay, Matthew Fritz Pinot Noir and Gnarlier Head Old Vine Zinfandel.) And all these wines were a bargain - from 50% off to $15 off. And then this summer, I found another irresistible sale. In fact, I was not the only one to find it: I bought a bottle and then shortly after that, a friend presented me with a bottle of the very same wine as a thank you gift. Great minds, great winey minds.

The wine in question is Unsung Hero Malbec (2011, 13.5%, Argentina) and this normally $42 bottle of wine was selling for $12.99. Almost thirty dollars off. That's a good sale!

So, onto the wine.  The nose on this is full of aromas of warm cherry, toasty oak and the inside of a leather shop. (Have you ever walked into a fine leather store and taken a deep breath? You know what I mean then.)  I was a teeny bit suspicious of this nose, because while I love a nice leather purse, I don't normally drink one (or from one, for that matter). And my suspicions were somewhat confirmed with the first sip: earthy flavors, overripe black fruit and a strip of leather running through it all. Again, as much as I like pretty leather shoes, I do not drink them (again: or from them). Some aerating smoothed out the taste a bit, so I'll warn you to decant this one or use an aerator.

The second bottle we tried started out a bit smoother (aerating helped). Since we were drinking it a bit later in the season, the grill was open for business and we were grilling a London Broil. Which made me think that this is a wine that might need to be paired with food instead of sipping it on its own. It was a warmer evening, too, and I think the warmer temps helped to smooth out the rough edges on this Hero.

So, for $12.99, it was an okay wine. For $42...not so much. And I wonder if other people have discovered this too, because after its initial $42 price, it seems you can buy this for around $12-15 now. (And maybe the original price had been inflated to nab sale crazy Winey Moms like me who love the thrill of the hunt. Well, it worked.) I'm glad I tried it, but I'm not real sure I'll go for it again - sale or no sale.

Please note that the phrase "sale or no sale" as uttered by me does NOT in any way apply to Kate Spade shoes, Italian leather purses or the gorgeous belt I saw at Nordstrom Rack last time I was there.


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