WEINGARTEN #6 May 2011
7. VOTE!

1. Wine Industry Survey by Mediobanca plus stock market performance of listed wine industry companies worldwide, updated to March 2011.

2. Red Wine is a pre-publication peek to a requested article for the May issue of a new online food magazine STICK A FORK IN IT. 

3. On April 17th the world celebrated Malbec World Day for the first time. There is more Malbec planted in Argentina than in any other country, and Wines from Argentina mission is to promote Argentine Malbec around the world. The New York Malbec tastings were a triple treat at Victor’s Café, New York Public Library and City Winery.  Added attractions were the ever so sexy flaminco dancing live and on film, and the accompanying empanadas. We happily attended all three events.  Many brand name wineries were there - Alamos, Catena Zapata, Graffigna, Rutini, Trapiche etc.

The good news is that US wine drinkers have learned to appreciate Malbec, Argentina’s signature grape, as making great value wines and an outstanding wine to pair with food. Between 2005 and 2009, shipments of Argentine Malbec to the United States quintupled.

Unfortunately this deserved popularity leads to the “bad” news. I have mild sticker shock when seeing wines that were $12 now selling for $18-20+, while others show Bordeaux envy with $100 bottles.  Furthermore, today there is a shortage of Malbec grapes, both from increasing worldwide demand and a poor grape crop due to unfavorable weather.  So prices in 2012-2013 are likely to rise far more than Ben Bernanke's US inflation rate!

We were therefore happy to discover a new Argentine quality & value winery.  Both Irene and I agreed that our favorite value wine at that venue was La Flor '10 ($12.95) by Pulenta Estate Wines. It is fresh and easy to drink and has balanced acidity and tannins. Thirty percent of the wine is aged in French oak barrels of second and third use. It is a medium-bodied wine, with the typical jammy characteristics less pronounced than may be expected in a Malbec. The producer suggests pairing it with grilled meat, which makes sense given the outstanding Argentinean steaks, but it would also couple wonderfully with cheese and crackers or tartines shared with friends on a summer evening.

I also  enjoyed their Gran Malbec 2007 ($24) along with my other show favorite Catena Zapata Alta Malbec 2007 ($45)..

Most wine lovers know that Argentina and Malbec make a perfect couple. In France, the origin of the grape, Malbec was mostly a blending grape, but in Argentina it became a star and now it's a global celebrity. We are already looking forward to Malbec World Day 2012!

4. There is a wine saw “The great taste of Spanish wines is not necessarily a surprise, but the low price you’ll pay for them will be.”  We had the great pleasure of joining winemaker Carlos Moro of Matarromera for a leisurely 3 hour lunch (a rare treat in our busy New York life) and wine tasting at Graffit, the new Spanish-modernist restaurant on the Upper West Side.

Our three favorites at the luncheon were:

Bodega Emina Rueda 2010 Verdjeo, the “other” value Spanish white wine which is only $10. Medium bodied with tropical fruit nose, the wine has balanced acidity and an unusually pronounced aftertaste for a young unoaked wine.

Bodega Matarromera Merlior - A blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. A bargain at $15, the wine attracted me with a lovely nose full of ripe berries and perfect tannins for my palate- gentle enough not to require a pairing with food.

Bodega Matarromera 2010 Tempranillo Reserva, at $45, is one of their flagship elegant wines, and as a fine wine, recommended to be served slightly chilled to “your castle’s room temperature,” i.e. 15C or 60F.

This is definitely a Spanish winery (actually a group of six wineries) that we predict will make its increasing deserved presence known in the USA as well as globally. It combines traditional (800 years) and family wine making with dynamic modern environmental consciousness and research. We expect to be writing and following their wines a lot more in the future. 


May 4 Austria Uncorked

May 5 Vibrant Rioja Grand Tasting

May 12 Riesling Tasting 2011

May 13 Wine plus Entertainment: Dancing on Pins & Needles

May 23 Natural Wines  What makes wine “green,” and how should it taste? Tasting and panel discussion with author Alice Feiring; winegrower Barbara Shinn; Pascaline Lepeltier, Rouge Tomate; Christy Frank, Frankly wines; Jeff Weissler, ConsciousWine.com.

6. READER: Re: Wine Industry Survey Interesting but rather more than I need to know.  On the other hand, it is very useful info for investors.  Have you had it translated? 

HW: It will be translated in May and posted on their website.
Reader: I really enjoyed the Malbec tasting. I found many new wines to enjoy.
HW: Yes hard to go wrong with wines from Argentina.
READER: How about a segment on wines for Passover? Your favorite Kosher for Passover wines.
HW: Next year. In the meantime, I recommend choosing an Israeli wine employing the principle of "DRINKING LOCAL". Carmel wines are obviously classic, but for higher quality (and higher prices) try Yarden and Yatir Forest. If you prefer to buy American, then Baron Herzog wines from California are deservedly popular. 

Please feel free to forward our WEINGARTEN newsletter to your wine loving friends.  They are most welcome to subscribe by emailing wine@afund.com.

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 Henry Weingarten


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