Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec 2009, Argentina

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PRICE: $15-$17

WHAT: Produced from grapes grown on the side of the Andes Mountains in Argentina, this full-bodied Malbec is a beautiful, well-rounded wine.

It has a deep red color in the glass, with intense red fruit aromas such as raspberry, black cherry and plum, with some nice peppery notes. The taste is very even, with the fruit and tannins working in harmony.

Malbec is one of the fastest growing varietals on the world wine market. Malbec, or Cot, is an old grape variety with a long history in Bordeaux. Now it is more likely to be found in Argentina (where it is more or less the national grape) and the Cahors region of France.

It generally produces deep, soft wines with black fruit aromas. Some of the Terrazas vines date to the 1920s, producing rich, complex wines. The Malbec vines average 45 years old.

The Mendoza wine region in western Argentina is marked by terraces at varying altitudes in the Andes. The grapes are more influenced by altitude than distance from the ocean, as grapes in many other regions are. The Terrazas technical team has found optimum altitudes for various grape varieties. The Malbec, for instance, does best at 3,500 feet.

These terraces also benefit from distinctive soils and microclimates. Spring snow thaws also deposit salts, minerals and other nutrients.

WINERY: Although 1997 was the first commercial vintage for Terrazas de los Andes, parent company Bodegas Chandon has been working with Terrazas vineyards and grape varieties since its founding in 1960. Bodegas Chandon Argentina was the first Moet & Chandon subsidiary outside of France.

For its winery, Terrazas de los Andes restored an old Spanish-style winery founded in 1898 at the foot of the imposing Cordon del Plata section of the Andes. In fact, it was the winery where Pedro Domecq allowed Monsieur Poirier to vinify the original “experimental” Bodegas Chandon vintages of 1957-59.

In their Reserva line Terrazas de los Andes also produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Torrontés and Merlot. They also have single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons and Malbecs under the Afincado line.

GOES WITH: I had this with a spicy chili, and it was terrific, with the bold fruit standing up nicely to the spices. It would be great with just about any red meat on the grill, such as steak, deer, duck or even a pork tenderloin.

WINE EVENTS

NOV. 24

Wine and tapas tasting, 5 p.m., Veritas at La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; taste four wines and three tapas, $19.99

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, $5 for six wines and a selection of cheeses; $3 rebate on purchase of featured wine

NOV. 25

Wine tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., The Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; featuring Christmas wines and beer; price determined by flight selection; (706) 922-9463

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; $5; six wines and a selection of cheeses; $3 rebate on purchase of featured wine

NOV. 26

Wine tasting, 1-6 p.m., The Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; featuring Christmas wines and beers; price determined by flight selection; (706) 922-9463

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