Argentina, Great wines under $10, Malbec, Mendoza, Red wine

Enrique Foster Ique Malbec 2008

Winemaker: Mauricio Lorca
Grapes: 100% Malbec
Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Bodega Enrique Foster is located in the center of the world’s premier location for Malbec – Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. Malbec, and only Malbec is planted on two Bodega vineyards at an elevation of 3000 feet above the sea level.

Carrodilla, where the winery is built, is 30 acres of ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines planted in 1919 and Compuertas with 20 acres of less venerable vines planted in 1966.

So why it is that Malbec from Argentina is suddenly so popular? The grape variety is not new – Malbec is used in Bordeaux blends for ages to add color and dimension to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The varietal originated in the Cahors region of southwestern France and it is still produced there as a varietal wine.

But the French climate doesn’t allow Malbec to ripen fully. Therefore it is only here, in Argentina, that this wine can achieve the soft, rich complexity, so typical for the best Argentinian Malbecs.

Bodegas Enrique Foster produces 3 levels of Malbec wines:
Ique Malbec (from vines that are over 30 years old) doesn’t age at oak to preserve the fresh, young and fruity characteristic

Enrique Foster “Reserva” Malbec (from vines over 60 years old), hand harvested and aged for 1 year in French oak and an additional 9 months in the bottle, resting in their underground cellar

Enrique Foster “Limited Edition” Malbec (from their oldest vines)
Grapes for this wine are highly selected from the oldest vines, with restricted production not exceeding 2 lb. per vine. After the strict selection process this wine is aged for 14 months in new French oak barrels and 1 more year in the bottle.

The respect for the land and the never ending effort to produce the best Malbec in Argentina (which is to say the best in the world), shows in every one of these wines. After a research in California to study several gravity flow winery construction projects, the Bodega have built an unique system that eliminate pumping of the wine.

It was quite a challenge in the flat terrain of central Mendoza, but they achieved it. Mobil overhead I-beam crane that lifts grapes over the fermentation tanks, deep cellar for the barrels, multi-stage elevator and raised roof to fit it all in – all that requested much bigger investment than planned. But the quality of the wines, produced annually from this state-of-the-art-gravity-flow-winery more then justified the extra effort.

Tasting notes:
Rich aroma of ripe fruit and spice, this dark ruby young wine offers rich and complex wine experience. Great structure with silky tannins and long finish – an attributes that are more common in much pricier wines. An excellent value!

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 10.00 !!

Ideal food pairing:
Anything from the grill, Flank steak with shiitake sauce, Lamb burgers, Beef Bourguignon, Beef Chorizo, casseroles, leg of lamb or many more rich dishes

Argentina, Malbec, Mendoza, Red blends, Red wine

Clos de los Siete 2006

Winemaker: Michel Rolland
Grape: 45% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Syrah (the blend varies every vintage)
Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Ratings: R.Parker 92 points:

“The 2006 Clos de los Siete is a slightly different blend. Opaque purple-colored, it has a similar expressive nose including fragrant plum, blueberry, and black cherry. Ripe, sweet, and seamless, it admirably hides its tannin under all the fruit. It will evolve for several years but who will have the willpower to defer gratification? It is an awesome value.”

The mountain vineyard of Clos de los Siete has very unique microclimate with its very low rainfall and incredible range of temperatures that played a big role in the longevity of these wines.

The vines went through very late snowfall, late flowering and then through constant high temperatures in January which led to a rapid color change in the space of just 10 days. Malbec was specialy noteworthy this vintage and took its right place as the top grape variety of Argentina.
Every grape for this blend were picked manually, manually sorted in the vineyard twice (before and after destemming).

Transport of grapes is done all by gravity (no pumping). The grapes were then soaked in cold pre-fermentation maceration, and pumped twice at the beginning and at the end of fermentation. Final blend than ages for 10 months in new French oak barrels – 1/3 in vat. Wine is not fined, not filtered.

Tasting notes:
This full body blend surprise you with rich aroma of blackberries, dark berries fruit and lovely dense ruby/purple color. Seductive when you taste it, rich on the palate with notes of plums, blueberry and chocolate. Very impressive, long finish, a quality, more common to wines twice or triple the price!

When combined with spiced dish, it brings out the spiciness of Malbec grape in the wine. Clos de los Siete is a master piece, can age well but is perfectly drinkable as a young wine as well. Great value!

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 20.00

Ideal food pairing:
Steak, grilled barbeque meats, rich beef casseroles, spicy food such as our Mexican beans and rice, chili