The Mendoza region of west central Argentina is considered by many to be the country’s premiere wine grape growing area and is home to over 1,000 wineries.
Lately I’ve enjoyed a number of wines from Doña Paula Vineyards, an Argentinean winery that typifies what you can expect from the region – reasonably priced, well-balanced wines with good character and a nice measure of fruit flavors.
Doña Paula currently bottles its wines under two labels; the top-of-the-line Estate label, priced at about $12 to $14 a bottle, which utilizes lower yields and longer aging, and Los Cardos (meaning “the thistle”), a second label that doesn’t compromise on quality despite a slightly lower price of about $9 to $11 a bottle.
Here are my notes on a few of the winery’s current releases:
Los Cardos 2006 Chardonnay – Slightly citrusy to start, with apricot and apple flavors in the mid-palate and a touch of toasted oak on the finish for added depth. For a chardonnay at this price it’s really quite complex.
Los Cardos 2006 Syrah – Packed with plum and black cherry flavors with a scant bit of spice on the finish. Because the wine is still fairly young it’s a bit tannic – a minor quibble that should be easily resolved with additional cellaring time to allow it to become more plush and well rounded. In summary – fine now, but great aging potential.
Doña Paula Estate 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon – Lovely aroma of blueberries and violets followed by restrained dark fruit flavors and a finish of sweet, toasted oak. An excellent food wine to pair with beef or barbeque meats.
Doña Paula Estate 2006 Malbec – Generous, mouth watering dark plum and blackberry flavors followed by hints of anise and pepper. Gentle tannins and a silky finish make this an instantly enjoyable red wine.
All of these wines should be available locally at the Community Food Co-Op, Food Pavilion, and Haggen stores. If not in stock, they can be special ordered upon request and on hand for you to enjoy within three to five days.