In December 2001, I went to Argentina for my very first time and I fell in love with this country and especially, Mendoza. This city is very special for many reasons, the many tree lined streets that are closed off to traffic, the friendly people, and the wines from this region rival many from around the world. If you drive west for several hours you will see the mightly Aconcagua with ancient ruins along the way. Sidenote, stop for parilla along the highway coming back to Mendoza because you will be hungry. In Mendoza there is no shortage of good restuarants and my personal favorite, Sopelsa’s Ice Cream. This ice cream shop is the absolute best in the world especially with the abundance of fresh milk from Argentina’s famous cows. Also, the world does evolves around good food, wine, and ice cream.
This the first part of three, describing wines that remind me of this trip. My criteria is that they are afforable, drinkable, and have a distinct flavor. The first wine is a Malbec and Bonarda mix and these two grapes are very representative of this region. As you may know, Malbec grapes orginated from France, but flourished in the Mendozan climate and soil. Malbec has really come to fame in the recent 5-7 years and I think it has a permanent spot in the wine section of any location. Bonarda, until recently, was Argentina’s most abundant wine making grape. The result are two grape varieties that have been used for many years by the wine makers of Mendoza.
The Tikal – Patriota 2008 was a fantastic start for my wine memory lane. Once you open the bottle you will notice it’s deep purple color and warm aroma. This is a very full bodied wine with a lot of body and character. With the mix of Bonarda grapes you get a very fruity taste with a ton of flavor from your first sip. What I love the most about this wine is the long and very satisfying finish giving you a reason to savor every drink. Serve it with pork or beef, or even a pizza because this wine can be served during any day of the week without breaking your wallet. Since it does have a pleasant finish you can drink it without any food and really enjoy a glass by the fireplace during a cold evening.
I have since gone out and bought two more bottles of Patriota because of its afordability, and richness this bottle of wine provides. . It may be a full bodied big wine, but you will have an enjoyable time drinking it.
Prices range from $15-$19/ bottle and you can see the winery and bottle detail at this link……. (TIKAL 2008)