Wednesday, December 30, 2009

TN: Weinert 2003 Mendoza Malbec

No picture for this post. But the Weinert 2003 Mendoza Malbec still deserves a note despite less than ideal circumstances for formal tasting. I picked up a bottle in Pennsylvania for a family dinner featuring roasted red meat. While Argentine Malbec is usually a safe choice with its soft tannins and ripe, plummy fruit, this bottle was surprisingly complex if not a bit challenging. In fact, while I've been shying away from Malbec recently, this bottle has me thinking there's more out there beyond monolithic fruit bombs.

The nose had an intriguing mix of musty leather and cedar. While the bottle indicated 3 years of oak aging, a little e-digging revealed the aging takes place in large, neutral oak casks. Thus, the oak was held in check. The wine was medium to full-bodied with plenty of ripe red fruit on the mid-palate. Yet there was serious depth to the persistent finish that has coffee-like flavors as well as some mildly astringent oak tannins. Its age gave it an overall mellow impression.

Even though we drank from small, shallow glasses, the bouquet was effusive. With better stemware, I'm certain this wine could be stunning. It's a sort of cross between Old World funkiness and New World opulence. Weinert is definitely a producer to watch for given its approach. Not only do they practice extended aging in neutral oak, but they also bottle age before release as the 2004 Malbec is their current release. I love producers that have the guts (and capital) to put their wine on the market when it's actually ready. This holds doubly true for those that can mix a bit of rusticity with riper fruit.

Pros: Complex, Medium/Full Bodied, Balanced, Ripe Fruit, Strong Earthy & Funky Bouquet
Cons: Slightly Astringent Tannins
Decant: Yes
Price: $20 from Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits
QPR: Good (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)

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