Bodega Finca Abril
Alhambra Malbec Reserva 2020
Valle De Uco
Sustainable, organic, hand harvested
Founders: Gustavo and Maria Laura
Deep purple with ruby shimmers. First scent up…vanilla cream center that later sticks around in the background, but let it keep breathing and then there’s raspberries, cherries, plums, baker’s chocolate, and a warm spice & smell from what I remember from my grandfather’s woodworking shop. Oh even in the first sip this has all the scents and more…blackberries (seeds & all), prunes (in a good way), deep darkest bitterly good chocolate, drop of singed citrus peel blend & a shave of cedar.
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: deliciously juicy smooth
Finca Abril was started by Gustavo and Maria Laura in 1996, but they have vineyards far older…back to 1922, which means some had a massive birthday last year. Who blew out the candles on that cake? Now that would be quite a set of lungs. This bottle does come from some of the younger vines, and is called one of their entry level wines, but honestly if this is a “starter kit” for learning about what they have to offer, then bring on their “Art Collection”! Not only do you get limited edition blends (some of the senior grapes mingle with the teenagers), the labels also have artworks by select Argentinian artists, so get a wall mount to keep it on display because you’re not going to want to put that bottle in the recycle bin.
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Bodega Humberto Canale
Canale Black River
Estate Malbec 2020
Sustainable agriculture, hand harvested
Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina
Family winery since 1909; Guillermo Barzi Canale (president)
Maroon with bluish purply hints. Scents immediately flow out of dried cherries, plums, raspberries, tiny bit of woodsy nature, and a familiar scent from home of apple blossoms floating on a spring breeze. Sipping and again cherries (dried and fresh), plums, raspberries with an addition of a touch of Nilla Wafers. It’s lively and as it grows there’s a tingle in the back that mellows and that woodsy nature flair is there again.
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: blerg…but it would be fabulous at a good ol’ backyard bbq with some steaks on the grill
This is a winery born from a biscuit…ok it’s more than just that. José Canale, originally from Italy ventured to Argentina, met his wife Blanca Vaccaro, had a small brood, opened the family bakery that expanded and grew, and then here’s the bad news. At 44, José passed but Blanca with strength and determination forged forward in the business to care for herself and her children. Out of the brood Humberto Canale became a civil engineer and later a government official, while the others kept growing and industrializing the family cookie business (which was quite a success). Even though they walked different paths, they were still together. Humberto saw potential in the Rio Negro area and invested in a fruit and wine venture that led to where the family and the winery is today and is in the hands of Guillermo Barzi (Humberto’s nephew) and the future generations. BTW there is a heck of a lot more to this tale but no way to fit it in an IG post. Just enjoy a glass and you’ll be drinking their history and it’s all you need. 🍷
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Hand harvested and sustainably farmed
Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
Valle de Uco (vineyard)
Owner and winemaker: Hervé Joyaux Fabre
Pale starlight straw. Fragrances of peaches, melon, apricots, a lemon/lime spritz, honeysuckles, a rain soaked sidewalk after a summer storm, and a little salt. Sip and it’s a very inviting blend of lemon/lime, peach, melon, lovely lychee, a salty lick, and slate. It’s bright and luscious but not overpowering.
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: Deliciously tones back some of the heady floral. It would probably be great with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Originally from Bordeaux and from a family of wine negociants, Hervé Joyaux Fabre ventured to Argentina in the early 90s searching for some old vines with great terroir. He succeeded with finding Malbec from 1908, in Mendoza, and Fabre Montmayou was born. Eventually he branched out to another winery in Rio Negro, Patagonia. Now they hold a long list of awards and acclaims (including IWC 2018 Red Winemaker of the Year) for a multitude of wines. When I got this Torrontés, I knew I had read something about Hervé Joyaux Fabre before, but it took me a few minutes and then a book dig and realized he was mentioned in 2011’s “The Vineyard at the End of the World” (by Ian Mount). He was described as “a Frenchman prone to wearing ascots and gaucho pants”. I’m not so sure if he still dons the pants, but after taking a glance at his website there’s a lovely pic of him and his wife (and partner in wine) Diane, and he is yes still sporting the debonair ascot. Oh and I want to add, please check out their IG page (where I found Hervé in jeans). They have the cutest snuggle bunny of a dog named Scooby Doo. His pics will brighten your day.
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Bodegas y Viñedos Patagonia Valley
Organic and biodynamic
Winemakers: Augusto Ripoll and Guy Zarate
A glassful of deep purple. It’s yeasty toasty so let this youngster breathe. Give it some time and a hint of vanilla pops up but runs away. Deep really tart cherry, orange peel, cola, smidge of tobacco, and earthy pepper appear. First sip is alive and young in a good way. Tangy cherry that has my lips vibrating, and some pomegranate too. Flowers are hanging out but definitely cedar and some funky slightly bubble feeling that is just on the tongue. There’s still some seriously natural rustic hayness. This little guy should be finished off in the first day or two to keep it’s full essence.
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: there’s still the crazy tingle feeling, but the cherry darkens
The tingling is reminding me of a lip plumper from the past. Maybe a glass of this can be the new beauty trick.
If you want a good read on Malbec, “The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec” (by Ian Mount) is a great recounting of the history and dramas that played out over the years.
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