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Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Trivento Reserve Malbec 2011, Argentina

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COST: $10-12

WHAT: Malbec continues to grow in popularity in the United States, with good reason. It is a tasty grape that produces wine perfect for food pairings.

Though Malbec came to the New World from France in the 1860s, the grape has found its ideal home in Argentina, where soil and climate at the foothills of the Andes Mountains produce great wine.

The Trivento Reserve Malbec 2011 is a good introduction to the grape because it is a fair representation of it at a great price. It is a full-bodied wine bursting with strawberry and cherry flavors. It is a big wine without being too heavy.

The wine is a beautiful bright red in the glass with pleasant aromas of plum and vanilla. The mellow tannins lead to a long, pleasant finish.

The grapes come from the Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley in Mendoza. After 20 days of fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine spent six months in French oak barrels. it also spent five months bottle aging before it was released.

This is a typical Mendoza Malbec, ripe and lush with smooth tannins. The grape has proved so popular that Malbec accounts for nearly half of all Argentine wine imports in the United States. Some excellent Malbecs also are grown in Chile, but Malbec has become the iconic grape of Argentina.

WINERY: “Trivento” means three winds. Polar winds blow in from the south, cold and icy, bringing on the winter stages of the vineyards. The Sudestada wind is the fresh breeze of summer. Cloudiness and the breeze keep the grapes from baking in the hot, dry summer. Zonda winds descend from the Andes all year long, but hot and dry gusts in spring promote budding of the vines.

Trivento was founded in 1996 by Vina Concha y Toro, allowing the Chilean wine company to gain a foothold in Argentina, and produce great wines from the distinctive climate and soil of Mendoza.

The company owns more than 3,100 acres in eight vineyards equipped with drip irrigation that allows grapes to grow in the arid region.

The winery bottles several Malbec blends, Chardonnay, Syrah, a late harvest dessert wine and a sparkling wine.

GOES WITH: My wife, Teri, and I had this with some tasty beef stew we thawed out. I like to make big pots of soup and stew and freeze what we don’t eat immediately. This stew was from a few months ago and was filled with herbs.

The Malbec worked very well with the complex flavors of the stew. The fruit qualities of the wine were balanced by the savory flavor of the stew.

The wine also would go well with burgers and barbecue.

WINE EVENTS

THURSDAY, MAY 23

Wine and tapas tasting, 5-6:30 p.m., La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas; $19.99; (706) 722-4805

FRIDAY, MAY 24

Wine and beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

Wine tasting, 6-8 p.m., Evans Towne Market, 4460 Washington Road, Evans; several wines, cheese and crackers and live music most Fridays; $5; (706) 303-8591

SATURDAY, MAY 25

Wine and beer tasting, 2-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

FRIDAY, JUNE 7

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three whites and three reds and cheeses, $5 with rebate on purchase of one bottle of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522


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