Oconee Wine Club Selections
Both wines this month come from the Alamos winery located in the Mendoza region of Argentina. The renowned Catena family began making Alamos in 1993. Its name is derived from the poplar trees that line the high altitude vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina (Alamos means “poplar” in Spanish) and protect the vineyards from the mountain winds. Alamos notes that it is among “The Wines of Catena.” This is significant, because the Catena family is considered the “first family” of vintners in Argentina. The vineyards of Mendoza, where this wine comes from, are among the highest elevations in the world planted with vines, as they stretch up the foothills of the Andes Mountains and enjoy the temperate climate that comes along with this location.
There are many levels of vineyards in the vast Mendoza region, which happens to be the world’s largest wine region. This wine comes from some of the highest planted vineyards, above 3,000 feet, giving the wine a dry, exotic touch, whereas malbec from the valley floor can be more fruity and less complex.
This is an interesting wine that, based on its concentration and flavor profile, is an excellent alternative to more traditional cabernets and merlots normally found in the area. It might need about an hour out of the bottle before consumption, but should then provide immense drinking pleasure and will be good for the next five years or so.
Alamos Torrontes 2015 $10.99 90 Rated by Robert Parker!
A delightful expression of the high elevation Salta region, our Alamos Torrontés has bright floral aromas of orange and jasmine blossom. On the palate, this wine offers citrus and peach flavors that lead to a crisp finish.
Although Malbec and Mendoza are the best known names in Argentine winemaking, Torrontés is taking center stage a few hundred miles to the northwest, in the Cafayate region of Salta. It is believed that Argentina’s flagship white varietal was brought to the country by Spanish Jesuits in the 18th century. Torrontés is found in the world’s highest vineyards, resting at 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level in Argentina. The high altitude growing conditions translate beautifully to bright floral aromas and delightfully crisp acidity in our Alamos Torrontés wine.
In 2013, the Salta region had an excellent vintage. Cooler temperatures allowed for steady ripening and maturation, creating a great balance between acidity and sugar with great aromatic complexity. These conditions enhanced the fruity and floral aromas in our Torrontes, offering an ideal complement to the crisp acidity.
2014 was a good vintage for Torrontés in Salta, and the 2014 Torrontés from Alamos feels a little like a dry Riesling from Germany as it offers that mixture of lime and white flowers with subtle minerality and pungent, fresh flavors plus spiciness in the palate (curry). This would be ideal for Asian food that is not too hot. It would be interesting to see how this wine behaves with a couple of years in bottle as this has very good stuffing and acidity. Very good value for this quality Torrontés. Some 250,000 bottles produced.–Robert Parker 90 Rating!
Alamos Seleccion Malbec 2014
The pinnacle of our portfolio, the Alamos Selección Malbec has enticing ripe black fruit characteristics of plum and blackberry. Intense aromas of violet and dark berry jump right out of the glass and extend to the palate, where they are complemented by hints of brown spice and pepper from oak aging. This full-bodied Malbec culminates in a deep, luscious finish.
Tucked under the massive shoulders of the Andes Mountains in west central Argentina, the province of Mendoza is renowned for housing some of the best winegrowing regions of Argentina. The character of Mendoza wines is forged in high altitude desert vineyards irrigated by mineral-rich snowmelt from glaciers and snowfields. Altitudes range from 1,000 feet to around 5,000 feet, where the foothills rise steeply toward the Andes’ peaks. High altitude means cool temperatures and clear air, and clear air means more sunlight for building flavor in the grapes, helping to make Mendoza the source of Argentina’s well-earned reputation for top quality, unique wines.
With encyclopedic knowledge of the wines and terroirs of the Rhône as well as his native Costieres de Nîmes, Michel Gassier is a restless and innovative vigneron. Usually inquisitive personalities like Michel start as outsiders. Such is not the case with Michel, whose family has been growing grapes and making wine in the Costieres de Nîmes for four generations. Together with his wife Tina, they are helping to establish a new level of quality for Costieres de Nîmes without forsaking the uniqueness of their terroir.
They have achieved this through nurturing their land, farming organically, promoting biodiversity, and respecting their employees as much as their vines. They are proponents of indigenous varieties and taking advantage of the diversity of climates to make wines that are dense and pure but elegantly balanced. Cercius is made in partnership with Eric Solomon and Philippe Cambie from several sites throughout the Rhône valley. Nostre Païs is the epitome of the terroir of the Costieres de Nîmes while Lou Coucardié represents the aspirations of Michel and Tina through conversation with the land and its history.
Mostre Pais 2013 $ 32.99
A blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Bourboulenc planted in red clay, gravel, & sand. The vines are hand harvested organically and the wine is aged in 50% stainless steel tanks and 50% French Oak barrels for 6 months before released. The past two vintages have been rated 92 and 93 respectively by Robert Parker.
Lou Coucardie 2011 $21.99
It’s dark color, almost black, announces a wine of great concentration. Powerful and extremely complex, the nose displays a wide array of aromas such as dark berries, spices, eucalyptus and vanilla welded in great harmony. Rich and velvety, without being heavy, this wine pulls its finish in a aerial display of fresh fruits and ripe tannins.
Blend: 48% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache and 22% Syrah
The Wine Advocate – “The richest and most concentrated cuvee, the 2011 Costieres De Nimes Lou Coucardie, which was bottled earlier in the year, offers up aromas and flavors of ripe black fruits, chocolate, graphite, licorice and hints of smoked herbs. A blend of 48% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache and 22% Syrah that spent 12-18 months in French oak, it is a serious, layered and textured effort that was hard to spit. While hard to resist now, it should have a broad drink window as well. “