Mendoza Wine Country report

Discussion in 'Argentina' started by dhammer53, Nov 28, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    We toured 3 wineries in Mendoza.



    Most of my wine knowledge is Napa/Sonoma. I didn't know a thing about Malbec from Mendoza. I wanted to taste at Achaval Ferrer based on their reputation. We had a 30 - 40 minute tour/tasting. The cost was 50 Pesos or US$11 per person. That's reasonable, and somewhat inexpensive in comparison to California.



    Their base Malbec wine was 145 pesos or ~US$30. It was very weak. Nothing special. I know entry level wines aren't the best, but for $30 and their reputation, I expected a drinkable wine.



    We also taste the Quimera. Cost 140 Pesos or US$50 ish. It was good, but not worth the cost based on my experience with California wines. The same could be said for their Finca Mirador at 600 Pesos or US$126. You can buy a great California wine for that price.

    My wife and I did enjoy the '11 Dolce from Malbec. It's a dessert wine. It was light, not syrupy. At 240 Pesos or $52, it was very expensive for a 375mm (half bottle). I'm making a comparison with French sweet dessert wines.



    My overall impression, in spite of the ratings from Wine Spectator, was disappointing.



    Now we're talking...



    Our next stop was Mendel, just a short distance away. No tasting fee as I recall. The juice here was far superior to Achaval Ferrer, and at a much lower cost.



    I know Mendoza isn't known for white, but the Mendel Semillon was crisp and refreshing. A golden color. 95 Pesos or $20. It will make a nice BBQ wine next summer. My favorite red was the Mendel UNUS. 200 Pesos or $43.00 This blew away any of the A V wines I tasted. Can't wait to drink these in several years.

    The Finca at 420 Pesos or $88 was the best of everything, even better than A.V. It was my #1 wine of the day. None purchased.



    The disappointment...



    Dolium. How on earth did Dolium get mixed in with AV and Mendel? Dolium is more a wine for the masses, and it showed. Day and night vs Mendel. As a matter of fact, we did a private tasting with the winemaker plus lunch. The cost was 700 Pesos or ~US$147 for 2 people. I'm still scratching my head over this. The lesson here is to inquire about cost before you go. I never in my wildest dreams expected such a high cost to taste at such a run of the mill place (my opinion).
     
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  2. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Sorry to hear of this. I too have struggled to find wines from that region that I truly enjoy.
     
  3. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Where did you stay? PH?
     
  4. Flying Machine

    Flying Machine Silver Member

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    The Mendel Semillion is a very nice wine, especially at the price point. In fact when having dinner at Siete Cocinas http://www.sietecocinas.com.ar/ last month, we startted our dinner with it. Thought that resto was quite nice as well. Safe Travels
     
  5. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    The best wine I had in Mendoza was in a small production place, the name of which I have no recollection, where the driver took us after we told him "no more tours, no big wineries." A pleasant line up of very good drinkable wines with no attitude and modest pricing. I know, this was no help :p
     
  6. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    We used cash and points at the very lovely Sheraton. It was much nicer than I expected, and at the price, couldn't complain. ;)
     
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  7. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    If you care to go into a little more detail, I would try my best to steer you in the right direction. Argentina has a very wide variety of styles, production regions, grapes grown..... while its is of course not to be ruled out that this region simply doesnt do it for you, Im guessing that you may still have a good part of the Argentine offering to explore before you can write it off entirely.
     
  8. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Dan... I was once a big fan of Achaval Ferrer. That has, sadly changed. The wines have evolved in style and are now overdone and overpriced.... I share your dissapointment. Sorry I was not around to have assisted you more on your visit(s). If you want to plan a second trip down, I promise to help you from the initial planning stages and make sure you hit the sweet spots... :)
     
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  9. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    I too loved the Mendel Unus. I bought a couple bottles to bring home. I wasn't impressed with any of the other wines that I tasted the day I was there. We went to 4 wineries, Mendel, ReNacer, Clos de Chacras and Ruca Malen. Mendel was first, so I had high hopes for the day and didn't want to buy too many bottles here. Big mistake.
     
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  10. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Mendel is blessed to have one of the best winemakers in Argentina, the great Roberto De La Motta. The best wine made by Mendel is a very small release of an explosive Malbec.... called Finca Remota. Its not easy to find, but if you dig a little, you may be able to get a retailer in the US that can perhaps get it by special order.
     
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  11. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    For those that will visit Mendoza... its best for you to try to visit Bodegas that have limited to no US distribution. I always say that its unwise to come half way around the world to try wines that you can get at a liquor store near you or perhaps on the internet. Argentina exports less than 10% of all the wines it produces so there is a HUGE list of stuff that is not available back home.... it pays to do your homework.
     
  12. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    I wish that I had a better guide in Mendoza. While I had a fun, interesting day, the wine, with the exception of Mendel, was disappointing. I should have done some research first. I thought that I would have more time to look into things, but, alas..... Next time, I hope to visit your shop first!
     
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  13. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Let me know when you are next in town, would be happy to assist....
     
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