On April 16, Lucques Restaurant in West Hollywood hosted Argentina En Feugo, a stellar program brought by Wines of Argentina to celebrate World Malbec Day. Over the course of a busy lunch we learned, tasted and compared palates.
The after noon started off with a pre-reception tasting featuring 2011 Finca Las Nubes Rose of Malbec. Valle de Cafayate, Salta.
We learned that Argentina is the 5th largest in total wine production in the world, while the US is 4th. In addition it has the 10th largest vineyard acreage in the world, with US ranked 6th. The typical Argentine consumes 149 pounds of beef per year, more than any other country. Lastly, Argentina exports only 28% of her wine, consuming 72% of it’s own product domestically.
As the event officially began we were introduced to our leader for the day and Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser. Gaiser explained the the difference Argentine regions we would be visiting today and ensure time to learn (and taste) from each.
Each of three courses would be a plate, paired with four wines.
The first course was Spiced Lamb Loin with Roasted Baby Carrots, Dandelion and Black Olives. This was paired with 2012 Finca Flichman Reserva Malbec from Maipu, Barranca Mendoza. 2011 Lagarde Malbec from Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza. 2010 Alamos Winery Seleccion Malbec, from Uco Valley, Mendoza. 2010 Ricardo Santos Malbec, from Maipu, Mendoza
The noses started out earthy with a pepper finishing. Perfectly acceptable. The 2010 Alamos had a surprising dense raspberry note with a dry ending.
The second course was Chicken Paillard with Swiss Chard Bread Pudding, Wild Mushrooms and Walnut Butter. This was paired with 2010 Finca El Origen Reserva Malbec from Vista Flores, Uco Valley, Mendoza. 2010 Don Miguel Gascon Reserva Malbec from Agrelo, Tupungato Altamira, Uco Valley Mendoza. 2008 Navarro Correas Alegoria Malbec Mendoza. 2011 Domingo Hermanos Domingo Molina M2 Malbec, Valle de Cafayate & Valle Rupestre, Salta
The 2010 Finca El Origin is one of only eight wineries owned by Spaniards in Santa Catalina, It stands out for its big, bold mouth, and violet perfume. A nice touch from a new French oak cask. The 2012 Don Miguel is from one of Argentine’s oldest wineries — home of the famous 1881 restaurant. A magnificent richness and strawberry fruit with a grand mid-palate.
The third course was Braised Beef Short Ribs with Turnip Greens, Roasted Cippolinis and Horseradish Cream. This was paired with 2009 Nieto Senetiner Nieto Reserva Malbec from Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza. 2012 Salentien Numina Malbec Blend from Vista Flores, Altamira & Agrelo, Mendoza. 2009 Luca Wines Beso De Dante Malbec Blend from La Consulta and Gualtallary, Mendoza. 2008 Renacer Malbec, Mendoza.
The tastes ended more targeted for delicacy. The 2009 Nieto Senetiner brought intense floral to the nose with a tart finish. The 2010 Salentein Numina has a 60/40 Cab blend with a very strong cabernet influence and a delicious black currant note.
The biggest lesson to take away is while Malbec continues a tradition for big, bold, spicy flavor, that’s not her only strength. Malbec brings nuance, delicacy and a range of floral, and even berry notes.
A big thank you to Argentina En Feugo, Wines of Argentina and Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser for sharing the experience.