“Pick up the receiver… I’ll make you a believer…”

Running in 4 week sessions, PROTOCOL wine studio presents an online twitter-based educational program where we engage our brains and palates! It’s part instruction and wine tasting, with discussions on wineries, varieties, tourism, terroir, regional culture, food and wine matching and what all this means to us as wine drinkers.  #WineStudio –  Tuesday evenings 6pm pacific 

Below is a compilation of the best content of the Shades of Pinot Noir Twitter discussion right here for your (long) reading pleasure.

Week 1 –  January 7: all about the grape we love to love – Pinot Noir!

Ahhh, Pinot Noir. How we love to love you and how you constantly beguile and confuse us. There is no singular profile for the grape Pinot Noir. It is truly a grape that is an expression of its surroundings.

The name Pinot Noir is derived from the French words for “pine” and “black” in reference to the grape’s tightly clustered dark purple cone-shaped bunches.  Its skin is relatively thin, making it a tricky, yet rewarding, contender for wine production.

And its origins? It seems to be an offspring of Pinot Meunier and Gewurztraminer. As author Stuart Pigot notes in Planet Wine, “Pinot Meunier gave Pinot noir its bright, berry aromas and initial charm, while Gewurztraminer its silkiness, extravagance, nobility, and fickleness.”

The overall taste of Pinot noir is very susceptible to variables in the production process, leading to a wide range of flavors, textures, and impressions that often confuse. So let’s read on and make our own conclusions through our collection.

Week 2 – 14 January: Old Grape in the New World 

Evesham Wood 2011 La Grive Bleue Pinot Noir Eola – Amity Hills, Willamette Valley

Winemaker Erin Nuccio and I spoke by phone and he revealed quite a bit:  “When I came to Evesham in 2007 the joke in the Valley was when Russ Raney starts picking it means harvest will start in two weeks.  Most people call it picking early, but I call it picking on time.  We’re looking to pick with earlier flavors, when the acid is still there and when the brix have not soared.  We certainly strive to produce a more elegant or feminine style.”

Evesham Wood is a founding member of the Deep Roots Coalition–a group of nearly two dozen wineries in the Willamette Valley that have all committed to not irrigating their estate vineyards or purchasing irrigated grapes.

The La Grieve Bleue bottling is sourced from a 2 acre block on the estate vineyard, Le Puits Sec, planted in 1996 to all dijon clones. The gently sloping, east-facing vineyard is tightly-spaced and nestled on a low terrace (300-420 ft. elevation) on the eastern side of the Eola-Amity Hills ridge. This area, known locally as “Spring Valley”, has already proven to have one of Oregon’s best micro-climates for the production of Burgundian and Alsatian varieties. It is here that the rather shallow volcanic basalt soils allow Evesham Wood to achieve the low yields, great intensity and complexity. It is the uniqueness of this “terroir” that gives Le Puits Sec wines their signature.

Erin described the 2011 as “Springtime hillsides leaping from the glass”. Indeed.

Erin mentioned he’s concerned about a cooler future along the coast. “The Pacific Northwest is a cool area already, and if that’s the scenario, we could be pushed out of growing Pinot Noir,” Nuccio says. ” We’re already a cold area at about the limit of where Pinot Noir will grow, and if it got much cooler I’m not sure what we could do.”

Zepaltas, 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, Sonoma

Ryan Zepaltas strives to produce wines that go well with food, and have the potential to evolve throughout the aging process. We like that! His wines are also on the lists of some of the finest restaurants in the country. “I am an old-world romantic,” Zepaltas says, “so I believe that wine goes best with food on the table. I still get all tingly when I see my name on a wine list.”

His winemaking philosophy is that less is more. And maybe there’s a little bit of skateboard rebel thrown in. Yeah, did you know Ryan was a professional skateboarder prior to making wine? Ryan makes wines with passion, fervor—the kind that should always be in every bottle of wine, all over the world, regardless of its soil.

“I feel that you can easily make powerful, intense wines at lower alcohol/higher acidity in California. There is no need to hang fruit until it begins to shrivel to achieve this.

And of course, Ryan took time out of his busy day to join us online. When we mentioned that the 2012 smelled and tasted of- wet stones – like in a cool brook, wild cherry! He said I could be his PR person. That made my night, obviously.

Ryan also let slip an interesting little tidbit for us:  “Cabernet Franc is the new drug.” Pinot is the best, but I have wandered a bit :)

This wine is blended from 4 different Vineyards in the valley: Nunes, Suacci, W.E. Bottoms, Devoto and Marshall Ranch Vineyard. Wild and youthful came to mind when I tasted. You know, like hitchhiking at 3am from some inebriated dude in Clifton, NJ. Oddly enough, he was a super nice guy. Huh. Backbone! Raspberry and rose petals but grit as well—whole cluster! Throw a few bottles in the cellar and taste the development.

Week 3 – Shades of Pinot in the Old World

Weingut Friedrich Becker, 2010 Becker Estate Pfalz

Rudi Wiest Wines says of the Pinot: This is Becker’s liquid business card, once you know it, you’ll want more.

For many years now, the Becker estate located in Schweigen, very far south of the Pfalz on the border of Alsace, has been one of the top Pinot Noir producers in Germany.

In 2007, the Beckers started to work with lower must weights more in the range from 92-98 Öchsle rather than previously with 100 Öchsle or more. They learned that physiologically ripe fruit needs acid more than additional sugar. The old vines with mostly German clones and some French grow on deep marl lime soils that produce powerful but also refined, mineral driven Pinot Noirs.

The total production is 5000 cases, and Rudi Wiest imports about half of this quantity.  This is a linchpin wine and it is placed with all of its key distributors.

Some of the selection of the 2010 Becker is sourced from their GG (Grand Cru) vineyards St. Paul and Kammerberg with their perfect chalky limestone foundations.  Harvested at 96 Öchsle (23 Brix). Quite balanced on the palate, slightly smokey, plush and supple, dark cherry violet and lavender, cola and dark chocolate.  Velvety, very soft and elegant tannins.

A little side note here: Rudi Wiest carries one of the hottest portfolios of German wines, but no Twitter presence. We helped changed that! (insert mouth noise of confidence.) I think the power of forging wine relationships is well at play here. We’ve known Allie, our rep for years and she always has a smile or good word for everyone—she is truly one of the kindest people we’ve met. Thank you Allie!

Mazzolino, 2009 Noir Pinot Nero Oltrepò Pavese, Lombardy

Rock star alert!!! When I contacted Mazzolino winemaker Jean-François Coquard to join us online he did not hesitate even though he technically would still be in bed  in Italy.

Near and distant cultures intertwine at the Mazzolino Estate, whose name means “meeting point, layover” (from the Latin: Mansiolinum). Pinot Noir grows best across northern Italy where the climate is much cooler. The fruit flavors of Italian Pinot Noir are similar to that of France, but the earthy flavors lean toward smoke, tobacco, white pepper and clove. Pinot Nero, as the Italians call it, tend to have more color extraction and higher alcohol.

Jean-FrançoisCoquard says Pinot Noir is grown for the last 100 years in this area, around 300 miles from Burgundy.

I found a super interesting group called the Association Pinò Club, the first in the region, driven to identify the reference point for dell’Oltrepò Pavese. Three objectives that the Club intends – to promote, defend and enhance the ‘image and visibility of Pinot Noir vinified as red as a product of excellence in dell’Oltrepo’ Pavese; – create a common front which works for the promotion and knowledge of cultivation techniques and processing to improving overall quality in the production of Pinot Noir DOC dell’Oltrepò.

It is in the old village of Mazzolino, near Corvino San Quirico, that the Braggiotti family, owners of the Mazzolino Estate since 1980, planted the roots of the winery’s philosophy: 40 acres of land in the hills, twenty of which are vineyards, favoring the grape varieties most suited to this area.

Jean-François was kind enough to forward pictures and mini video.

The Mazzolino Estate’s Noir vineyards, in the municipality of Corvino San Quirico, are planted on a clayey-calcareous soil, on west-facing hills. They were planted in the eighties using Pinot Noir clones imported from Burgundy. The grapes are entirely hand-picked in crates when they are fully ripe and are further selected with great care on the triage table, so only perfectly healthy, whole bunches are used.

Week 4 – Where it All Began

Clément Klur, 2011 Pinot Noir d’Alsace

Aaron reminded me that we were the first (and probably still only) shop in California to carry the wine.  We were lucky to have Joanie Karapatien on with us representing A.I. Selectionsimporter for Klur.

Pinot Noir, originally from Burgundy, is the only red grape variety authorized in Alsace. Principally used in the production of light and fruity wines, Pinot Noir is vinified more and more commonly as a red grape, thus reviving an ancient tradition. Largely present in the AOC Alsace, it is also used for the production of Crémants d’Alsace blancs de noirs and Crémants Rosés.

Joanie Karapetian mentioned that growers in places like Alsace don’t make Pinot Noir unless they’re amazing…and the prices are low!

“We’re beginning to see some good Pinot Noir in Alsace,” comments Maurice Barthelmé of Albert Mann. So what has changed to persuade some Alsace growers that it’s worth trying to make Pinot, rather than rosé-style wines? “Global warming has helped us,” confirms Barthelmé. Bringing grapes to the requisite degree of ripeness is no longer an issue in this relatively northerly vineyard.

The second development is that Pinot Noir increasingly takes pride of place in top sites, including in Grand Cru vineyards, even though it’s not one of the officially permitted varieties.  The Klur family are stewards of terroir –  where biodynamics rule.

Interesting to note that “When you plant Pinot Noir in a Grand Cru vineyard, you lose something – you take a risk.” Why so? Because the only grape varieties that qualify for Grand Cru status are Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat. Pinot Noir planted in these premium sites automatically forfeits the price-premium associated with Grand Cru.    So grand cru soils that are now producing very small quantities of Pinot Noir at significantly lower prices. Why are they growing Pinot Noir? Because they can.

Another big change is on the clone front. Thierry Meyer, who tastes and selects Alsace wines for the Bettane & Desseauve Grand Guide des Vins de France, one of France’s most prestigious wine guides, explains that after World War II, when the region set about rebuilding its devastated vineyards, there was “une course aux rendements” (a rush for big yields). Overcropping is one of the enemies of Pinot Noir, which only gives of its best when yields are reined in. The big yield, big bunch clones that were planted in the rebuilding phase are gradually ceding ground to less vigorous clones with smaller bunches.

2011 Regis Bouvier Rouge Les Longeroies “Vieilles Vignes” Marsannay 

A Burgundy signature is quite possibly absence of signature.

Régis Bouvier’s reds are his crowning achievement, managing to be wild and exciting while refined and elegant at the same time.  Marsannay is the only communal appellation which produces wines of all three colors. Their typicity is that of the Côtes de Nuits, and their style resembles that of their neighboring appellations Fixin and Gevrey-Chambertin.

The Marsannay reds have intense coloration and a nose that smoothly blends cherry, strawberry and blackcurrant, blueberry. On the palate the wine is powerful and generous finishing into a long and meaty finish.

How about a quick single track tour through Marsannay, see the vines!

The winemaking history of Marsannay runs centuries deep, as far back to the 14th century when the Ducs of Bourgogne preferred Marsannay above other villages. Régis Bouvier’s two parcels are adjoining—the Clos du Roy is on the slope and Les Longeroies is between the slope and the valley floor.

Marsannay Rouge Les Longeroies “Vieilles Vignes” means “alongside the king” and aged in barrel for 12-16 months, 30% new oak. Whenever you see Kermit Lynch logo on the back of a bottle, you know you’re not only purchasing a bottle of wine but being transported into Kermit’s “personal” Burgundy.

“Burgundy is a diva. It’ll take you home, and then it’ll break your fingers in the door.”

“The supreme concern of Burgundy is – or should be – making terroir manifest. In outline, this is easily accomplished: small berried clones; low yields, selective sorting of the grapes; and, trickiest of all, fermenting and cellaring the wine in such a way as to allow the terroir to come through with no distracting stylistic flourishes. This is where terroir comes smack up against ego, the modern demand for self-expression at any cost, which, too often, has come at the expense of terroir.” Matt Kramer

And as I finish this post, I’m drinking the other half of the bottle Klur, where even more pronounced stones rubbed in cold hands emerge from the glass.

Thanks to all who participated!!

Intrigued? yeah. The 6 pack collection is available!

#WineStudio Recap: Bubbles – Staying Alive!

For our last #WineStudio of 2013 we sipped Bubbles. Although we ascribe to the notion that drinking bubbles year round is the way to go, we chose to concentrate on bubbles because of the celebratory effect sparkling wines lend to any environment.

Le Metro Wine. Undergrounds.’s Volume VII Underground Bubbles is just that: what’s old is new again and what you’ve never had is now at the tip of your lips. Oh it’s all well and good to sample the big boy Champagne houses but Aaron of course curated in the other direction as he is wont to do. 

Spirit of the Andes NV Sparkling Torrontés, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina
A festive aperitivo! And the winner of the evening! 

As we opened the #WineStudio festivities, we were informed by @LeMetroWine that sparkling wine is incredibly common in Argentina, usually enjoyed at the end of a meal. Of course The #WineStudio gang agreed wholeheartedly and added beginning, end all works to either get the palate moving or to cleanse the palate! The Torrontés is sustainably farmed 3,000 feet above sea level and is produced using the Champagne method, spending 12 months on its spent lees lending richness and subtlety to a crowd-pleasing, super inexpensive sparkling wine. And as @sector61 so eloquently put it: Somm Secret: Sparkling wine starts the party, I’ve seen it countless times, turns a dead scene into a lively event!

Sorelle Bronca NV “Particella 68″ 100 % Glera, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Veneto, Italy
There’s Prosecco, and then there’s PROSECCO. The daily wine!

Particella 68 is the land registry’s official name for the plot of land where these single vineyard, forty year-old vines grow. Sorelle means “sisters” in Italian, owners Antonella and Ersiliana Bronca, who are now joined in the cellar by Ersiliana’s daughter Elisa.  The Bronca is created by the “tank” (or “Charmat”) method, as is the case with almost all Prosecco. This means that secondary fermentation occurred in a tank rather than inside this bottle (as in the Champagne Method). This allows constant freshness. And the grape, Glera, lends itself to a bit of Prosecco controversy. The wine has been rebranded by this old, indigenous grape.

Parigot & Richard NV Rosé 100 % Pinot Noir, Crémant de Bourgogne, Burgundy, France
Burgundy… with bubbles. Pinot lovers rejoice!

@LeMetroWine stated: simple, hedonistic pleasure. The color gets me every time. A perfectly balanced wine, Champagne by another name.  Few will deny Burgundy’s title as “Home of the World’s Best Pinot Noir,” and this stunning rosé contains nothing but. A big winner for the rosé crowd, inexpensive but using the Champagne method, the resulting “bready” notes add unique complexity to this festive wine, whose salmon-colored hue will shine through your glass. @ProtocolWine said the Parigot is funky! Love the earth!

Medici Ermete 2012 “Concerto” 100% Lambrusco Salamino, Lambrusco Reggiano DOC, Emilia Romagna, Italy
Sparkling. Dry. RED. YES!

We all agreed, NOTHING cuts through fatty food like lambrusco.  This wine was originally created for one simple purpose: to cut through fatty foods that are in great local abundance in Emilia Romagna, which is one of Italy’s main culinary organs. This wine is produced in close proximity to the cities of Bologna, Parma, and Modena. The land it comes from is the birthplace of tortellini, prosciutto, and Parmigiano Reggiano.  Oh, and did we mention this beauty’s colour? It’s red, blood red. Many people take this to mean the wine is sweet. It is anything but. The lambrusco was the darling of the evening. It was an unknown for most but of course the Ermete won over many a palate!

Leclaire-Gaspard NV Grande Réserve 100% Chardonnay, Avize, Champagne, France
The crème de la crème. Toasty & yeasty goodness!

@sector61 remarked: Tina brings out the Champagne and this happens…  It’s true. If you’ve never heard of Leclaire – Gaspard, it may be because they don’t have a website. A tiny grower-producer, they grow their own grapes, on their own land – and their prices do not include a marketing surcharge. This wine rests on the lees for six years, made almost entirely from fruit picked in 2006. This extended contact leads to noticeable yeasty notes, which are cushioned by a dry palate and soft bubbles. Definitely one of the highlights of the evening–the only Champagne. There’s magic in the small, grower-produced wines:  there’s soul, determination and an overall sense of vivant.

La Caudrina, NV La Selvatica 100% Moscato Bianco, Asti DOCG, Piedmont, Italy
Breakfast wine… For Dessert. Spectacular with the cheese board!  

This is one of Italy’s only DOCG appellations for sparkling Moscato. The label was hand-painted by renowned grappa producer and artist Romano Levi just before his passing in 2008. The vines in this small, sloping vineyard plot are almost forty years old, and the grapes are treated with the utmost care to preserve Moscato’s distinctive aromas. It has enough sweetness to finish the meal, perhaps with the cheese sideboard or as many agree: Brunch wine!  The perfect kiss of partners sweetness and acidity.

All of the above wines have somewhat of a Cinderella story. Not particularly known, and in some cases previously shunned, but when some of the better examples are revealed, the results can be revelatory. Le Metro Wine. Underground. and #WineStudio does not exist to tell anyone what to drink, rather we’re sharing what we’re drinking and why. And as we quickly move into 2014, we do hope the journey of wine discovery continues.

There’s only one way to wine discovery… #WineStudio

#WineStudio Recap Week 3 – Argentina Express!

Week 3 of 4 of Argentina Express on #WineStudio and it was a fantastic evening! It was an intelligent, exciting wine conversation focused on the Argentina wine scene. We concentrated on varieties, which was kicked off by an article that was posted on #WineStudio written by The Drinks Business. Cabernet Franc – Argentina’s new Variety. Alejandro Vigil, chief winemaker at Catena Zapata, said: “Cabernet Franc is the future for Argentina.

With the core group of #winestudio on hand plus special guests @winefashionista,  @grapefriend, @GuilleBarbier and @OWOCWines it was a killer Argentina Express! evening!

We all agreed that Cabernet Franc could certainly have a place in Argentina, it’s just a matter of finding where, @OWOCWines reminded us:  I think we will see more Bordeaux varietals planted in Mendoza. Look how well they did with Malbec (Cot.)  It’s all just a matter of regionally mapping the area and determining if Cabernet Franc fits.  I posted that #Argentina is poised for a #wine renaissance, moreso in the terroir topography & mapping arena.


I have been doing some research on Argentina’s soil composition and I found this: Since 2008 Altos las Hormigas, with the help of Pedro Parra, South America’s only Soil and Terroir specialist, has started its own Terroir Project, based upon their groundbreaking knowledge on Geomorphology and Soil Profile, and its influence upon wine: Terroir Project  – a fantastic read!

Keep in mind there’s no true wine regulations in Argentina (variety must be at least 80% for the label) and although that hasn’t stopped them from establishing themselves as a Malbec powerhouse, as we discussed Tuesday, that sparkle is beginning to wear off. So what next? Just like with anything, in order to be heard you have to shout a little, thus, we’re seeing some good things coming out of Argentina. I mentioned that Argentina must organize on regionally and mapping. The Terroir Project could turn into Argentina’s turning point into more quality wine production–definitely something to watch.

Has Malbec run its course?

And with that possible turning point, what does that mean for Malbec? @toledowav mentioned: I wonder if Malbec has run its course. People are bored with mass production Malbec. As we’ve seen in many other countries, “mass production” lives and breathes so there will always be a place for that. However, with Argentina’s producers spending more time mapping the topography, we could begin to see more refined and focused Malbec-dominant wines. Big question here is does more refined mean more expensive and is that sustainable? Answers are forthcoming. Regardless, Argentina would be a fool to abandon Malbec.  As we’ve seen with Malbec de Angeles—a superb Malbec from an old vineyard. Looking forward to tasting this beauty again Tuesday 10 December on #WineStudio.

Heck, Argentina has World Malbec Day – can’t abandon that! @LeMetroWine and @OWOCWines will regale us next week of what goes on in a country that revels in its adoptive grape.

Grand Tasting Tuesday 10 December 6pm pacific 9pm eastern #WineStudio

For those in San Diego who own a laptop and have a Twitter account, we’ll be tasting all wines at the studio live Do join us!

Recuerdo Wines 2011 Torrontés La Rioja

Verum 2010 Pinot Noir Alto Valle del Rio Negro, Patagonia

Viña 1924 de Angeles 2008 Malbec de Angeles Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo

Viña Alicia 2007 Syrah Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza

Achaval Ferrer, 2010 Quimera  27% Malbec 25% Cabernet Franc 24% Cabernet Sauvignon 20% Merlot 4% Petit Verdot Mendoza

Carmelo Patti 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza

Ready your palate. Open your mind!

#WineStudio Recap – Argentina Express

As always, we begin our #WineStudio sessions with some guidelines: Ready your palate. Open your mind. It’s been our tenet from day 1—it’s all about gaining a better understanding of our world through wine and our part in that world. And no better way to begin than to speak to some wine industry folks who have traveled said world.

Weeks 2 and 4 Volume V Argentina Express led us to the Southern Hemisphere. With the Andes as our backdrop and beautiful wines on our minds, we chatted with Mary Orlin @winefashionista and Alyssa Vitrano @grapefriend who had recently traveled to a land where the original Catholic priests had a plan. For a quick history lesson and general running off of indigenous peoples, the Wines of Argentina site paints a wine-soaked picture.

For our first evening 12 November, it was about the experience of a place itself.  The word Hammock came up many a time, and I suppose it’s one of those, “you had to be there” moments, literally. We all agreed that Torrontes and Malbec were the most identifiable varieties, although not many had tried Torrontes.  As we progressed, however, we did begin to get a bit more geeky and a few wine terms emerged: altitude, designation origin.

@grapefriend [mentioned that] there’s a fun spirit about drinking wine as part of a meal w friends/family. The group agreed that yes, it’s the “being in it” that makes a wine experience truly special. @OWOC [reminded us:] What I think will hurt Argentina is lack of designation origin. Lots of laboratory Malbec in grocery stores. #winestudio

Our Malbec could not be farther from “laboratory.” The Viña 1924 de Angeles 2008 Malbec de Angeles Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo is a joy to experience:  rich and plummy, with notes of bacon fat but strong on minerality and acid. Malbec in particular adapts quickly to the varied terroirs offered by Argentina’s landscape and begins to produce wines better than in its original land. Argentina became the only country to have original Malbec vines of true French heritage.

Argentina is currently the main producer of Malbec in the world, with 76,603 acres of vineyards planted across the country, followed by France (13,097 acres), Italy, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand and the USA. @vinogger [asked] Any thoughts on why Malbec is the most popular and recognizable Argentinian variety? Marketing? Best of their wines?

We brought up the fact that much like New Zealand did with Sauvignon Blanc, Argentina embraced the variety, and of course the grape does very well in the region. Malbec Luján de Cuyo was the first Denomination of Origin (DOC) of the Americas. Malbec from Luján de Cuyo has an intense, dark cherry red color, which may look almost black. It shows mineral expressions, with black fruit and sweet spices.

Malbec expresses itself very well in regions with broad temperature ranges and calcareous, clayey or sandy soils as those found at the foot of the Andes. These geographic and climatic features make Argentine Malbec stand out particularly for the quality of its tannins: sweet, silky and mouth-filling.

As we concluded Week 1, grapefriend said it best:  @grapefriend This is the best thing about Argentina: great wine + good food + FUN! And hammocks.

19 November brought us more of a focused discussion of the grapes themselves and of each region. We began with Torrontes, produced only in Argentina and of course has an incomparable flavour!  From the theoretical point of view, this variety had no name or ampelographic description. It simply did not exist. @OWOCWines [reminded us that there are]Lots of options with Torrontes – sparkling, traditional, blended with other whites, steel or oak & sweet. @cliffordbrown3 [said] Torrontés is like Spring in a glass

We mentioned the importance of maps to really cement the entirety of the region in our minds. While at Somm school, I mentioned that to solidify this concept, we drew maps on a cleared floor and walked through them, much like physically being in the space—worked like a charm! @vinogger [agreed that] Using maps is a great idea because to appreciate wine it’s important to understand where it comes from & how it gets its taste #winestudio

Our next big topic of course was water and @winefashionista informed us that water [is] very allocated! [she said]Water such a big issue in ARG. The Andes Mountains are the main source of irrigation, providing meltwater every summer–must be a site to see!

Due to its intense color and dark hues, wines obtained from Malbec were once called “the black wines of Cahors.”  Originally, Malbec was known as Cot in Cahors. But the louse killed it. Better in #Argentina anyway!  Oh my yes. Cahors & Argentine Malbec totally different beasts. Majority of the vineyards are on alluvial soils; sandy or stony surfaces on clay substrata. #Malbec does well here!

The Cuyo Region (“the land of deserts,”) is one of the driest, yet most productive regions for winegrowing in #Argentina @OWOCWines [told us that] Malbec de Angeles keeps the vineyard traditional to how it was in 1924. Olive tree in the middle of the vineyard + river rocks.


We finished with Patagonia, my Patagonia! discussing the Verum 2010 Pinot Noir Alto Valle del Rio Negro, Patagonia where winters are harsh, summers are cool, particularly at night, and allows winemakers harmonic combinations of acidity and sweetness plus abundant aromas. Patagonian wines are described as having refined flavors, unequaled aromatic intensity and a unique personality that reflect purity of the environment!

Not many folks have ever tried a Patagonian Pinot Noir so it’ll be fun when we finally taste Tuesday 10 December. Everyone expressed the desire to travel to the area and indeed has been designated one of the top 5 wished-for travel destinations in the world!

It’s grapes are equally impressive: while Mendoza yields up to 60 tons per acre, the region of Rio Negro in Patagonia yields a miniscule 20 – 25 tons per acre. This alone has earned the area as “Condemned to quality.” Brilliant.  Pinot Noir is the shining star here, as well as Sauvignon Blancd and Riesling which gives some indication of the quality of the area.

Wines we discussed:

Recuerdo Wines 2011 Torrontés La Rioja
Verum 2010 Pinot Noir Alto Valle del Rio Negro, Patagonia
Viña 1924 de Angeles 2008 Malbec de Angeles Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo

As always, fantastic discussions! Find @LeMetroWine and @ProtocolWine on Twitter, hashtag #WineStudio, each Tuesday 6:00pm – 7:00pm Cali time.

Ready your palate. Open your mind!




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