Selections for July 2017

Appropriately Named!

2015 KING MALBEC – Mendoza, Argentina

There’s a lot of this kind of thing going on: 

One month we challenge a club with a “classic” Old World version of a grape, and the next month we appease with a New World one.  We hope you enjoyed June’s French Malbec provision, and now we take you to the country which for all intents and purposes considers this its national wine grape.

“King” Malbec?  Why not?  Argentina thinks so.  Bordeaux would at least call it part of the royal family.  The casual consumer who has the final word certainly holds it in high regard.  If Cabernet Sauvignon is your true “king” you’d at least call Malbec a worthy pretender to the throne. 

 - And how often does your beloved Cabernet function so properly at the ten dollar price point?  Is it ever this amiably juicylicious yet respectful of the ideas of balance and refreshment?  The power of the American Dollar and the unique situation of 3,000 foot-elevation vineyards join forces to accommodate the cocktail wine drinker’s wish for easy juicyliciousness.     

Beware!

2015 MARCHETTI ‘Castro di San Silvestro’ – Rosso Conero, Marche, Italy

We bring you to Italy’s east side, lying on the Adriatic and looking east toward Croatia.  This is one of the world’s rare wine places where the coastal vineyards feature the sturdy red varieties and the bright, high-acid whites of the region (Verdicchio, typically) are grown well inland and higher up.  That usually happens the other way around, but the Adriatic’s more moderate water temperature induces the cultivation flip-flop.

The grapes at play in this blend are Montepulciano (90%) and Sangiovese (10%).  Montepulciano shows us deep color, teak and blackberry fragrance and flavors, and Cabernet-like tannins.  Sangiovese contributes the crispness of acidy, bringing refreshment to the party.  Combined, they make for quite a challenge to the cocktail wine consumer’s tongue.  While there is plenty of fruit and dark, fresh earth to savor, you’ll be puckering if you attempt to guzzle this sans food.

If you haven’t already come to grips with the Italian red wine challenge, do it this way.  First, try this wine on its own.  Reflect on how it feels.  Does it make you hungry?  Is your palate activated?  I’m guessing so.  Now, try a slice of good salami which you bought at The Wine Steward while picking up your club wines (whoa, product placement!).  Re-introduce this wine to your food-treated tongue and – Presto! – you will have savored the magical marriage Italians enjoy at table every day of the week.

This wine from the excellent 2015 vintage can actually age, so stock up!