Vintages devoted pride of place in their January 17 release to Argentina. We’ve always generally liked good Argentina Malbec so I decided to stock up on a few bottles of something — in the event, two bottles of Santa Ana’s “La Mascota” Malbec 2006, at 14% and $15.95 . (There were two wines that caught my attention — one was $17.95 and the other 15.95, and both were available for sampling at Summerhill. Turns out I liked the cheaper one better.) Some of you participated in the uncorking of the first bottle last Saturday.

We served the second bottle of the Santa Ana with dinner tonight. Just like last week, the first third of the bottle went into my pseudo-Provencal beef braise. We split the other 2/3 between us.

Downside first. However you cut it, 14% is a lot of alcohol by volume. Probably too much for a weeknight, even with 1/3 of it in the sauce.

That said, we really liked this wine. It has a sort of typical New World red appearance — deep ruby, fuschia rim, long legs. Nose gives a blackberry/dark berry fruit with subtle notes of the woods (clay, graphite) as well as spice and toast from the oak. The winemakers suggest a hint of licorice which I can kinda sorta see, and jamminess which fortunately I don’t see so much. It’s dry with med+ acid and body, mediumplus-ish tannin, good balance for a wine of its size, and avg+ finish. We did find the back palate “oddly insubstantial”. As J. puts it, it “holds its alcohol well.” It’s a well integrated spiciness, without any suggestions of cheap Hallmark candles (see a few posts earlier), and no odd bell pepper notes.

It would be interesting to compare this to a French Cahors — another Malbec or Malbec-dominated wine I like though one which is very different in style.

There are still quite a few bottles available throughout Toronto-Central (though not at Atrium) if people feel like picking up a bottle or three.