Underwater wine aging

Yes, that’s correct. One winery is experimenting with aging wine underwater. It sounds like a crazy idea, but there is a reason behind the madness. Wapisa experiments The impetus goes back to the year 2010. What happened that year was the discovery of cases of 170-year-old Champagne bottles underwater. They were from the ruins of … Read more

Pepe Galante and Bodega Salentein

Meeting Jose Antonio “Pepe” Galante – winemaker at Bodega Salentein One of the benefits of wine blogging is an occasional invitation to meet with winery owners and winemakers.  This invitation was special. We were invited by Balzac Communications to a dinner with Pepe Galante. Pepe was here in the U.S. on tour to promote Bodega Salentein wines … Read more

Ceja Vineyard – Cute vineyard, great Pinot, inspiring story

In this season of Los Carneros, Amelia Ceja likes to sit outside instead of the comfortable tasting room the family has inside the house.

Argentine Wines in San Francisco

It was just this past March that we visited Argentina and this wine tasting event at the Regency Center in San Francisco brought back many memories of our wonderful trip. We quickly found the Tapiz table where we were surprised to see none other than the owner of the winery, Patricia Ortiz, pouring her wines. She mentioned that she had read our blog about our stay at her wine lodge, the Club Tapiz, and our visit to the Tapiz winery. Her warmth and friendliness is so typical of the Argentine people.

To us, the Malbec wines of Argentina are easy-drinking wines and I am convinced that it must be very difficult to make a bad Malbec in Mendoza. I can also say the same for Malbec Rosés and the white, fragrant Torrontes wine from the Salta region. We don’t see too many of the Rosé wines in the U.S. but I can guarantee that you will like these more than any domestic Rosé wines. One thing that surprised us at this tasting was the number of wineries producing other varietals. We tasted Chardonnay, Viognier, Char/Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Syrah, Cabernet, Bonarda, and even a little Pinot Noir.

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Getting Ready for the Summer by stocking up on Argentina’s Crios Rosé Malbec

When we were in Argentina this past March, the late afternoon and evening temperatures of the late summer beckoned for chilled refreshing wines. One of my favorites was from the Tapiz winery, a Malbec Rosé. When I returned home, I could not find anything like this wonderful wine in the San Francisco Bay Area. But last week, I discovered its equal, the Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec.

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Argentine Wine Exports Soar in U.S.

We have been back from our Argentina wine tour about four weeks, and ever since we have been looking for Argentine wines at all our local wine stores. The good news is that the these wines are easy to find and it looks as though we will have many more Argentine wines to choose from in the coming months.

I just received the May issue of Wine Business Monthly with an article on the immergence of Argentina Malbec wine in the U.S. The exports of Malbec to the United States increased 61% in 2008. The demand in the U.S. is growing rapidly largely due to the quality price ratio. Labor is cheap in Argentina, the dollar is strong compared to the Argentine pesos, and consequently you can find many outstanding Argentine Malbec wines under $20.

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More Argentine and Chilean Wine Recommendations

We have been back from our wine trip to Argentina and Chile two weeks but it seems that our wine palates are still in the mode for Argentine and Chilean wines. We tried a couple of Sonoma Zinfandels and a Sonoma Syrah and it was remarkable how spicy and peppery these wines tasted compared to the Argentine and Chilean wines we had been tasting on the tour.

Last week we shopped at Trader Joe’s, Costco, BevMo and Weimax in Burlingame in search of more Argentine and Chilean wines. We purchase several different labels and had to opportunity to try some with guests over the weekend. All of the wines we purchased were under $16. The big winners were the 2005 Montes Syrah at Costco for $15.99 and the 2007 Doña Paula Malbec for $9.99, also at Costco. These are both terrific wines and we are not the only ones to think so. The Wine Spectator gives the Montes Syrah 91 points and Parker gives the Doña Paula a 90-point rating. We also like the clean and fresh taste of the Tapiz Chardonnay that we picked up at the BevMo 5-cent sale for less than nine bucks. I see the price is now $11.99 now that the sale is over.

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Our Argentine and Chilean Wine Recommendations

These are the favorite wines of our trip and ones that you can purchase in many stores and online. All of these wines have character and structure and will give you much enjoyment when served with food.

Bodega Salentein (Argentina)

Bodega Salentein is a new and exciting winery. They are growing grapes at 5000 feet in the Valle de Uco at the base of the Andes Mountains. These wines are excellent and can be found online and in the San Francisco Bay Area for around $15 to $17.

Reserve Chardonnay
Sauvignon Blanc
Reserve Malbec
Pinot Noir

Catena Zapata (Argentina)

The top of the line Catena wines are very expensive but their lower line of wines are very good wine values.

Alamos Malbec – $9
Alamos Chardonnay – $9
Catena Malbec — $15 to $18
Catena Cabernet – $15 to $18

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Ramblings – Comparing Argentine & Chilean Wines to Napa Wines

We are back from our three-week jaunt in Argentina and Chile. We visited several wineries and had plenty of wine to drink with both our lunch and dinner meals. When we met and chatted with Americans in Argentina and Chile, we were invariably asked the question, “How do Argentine (or Chilean) wines compare with those of the Napa Valley?” Our answer would come without hesitation: “The premium wines of Argentina and Chile are as good as any wines we’ve tasted from the Napa Valley.” These are quality wines with great structure and flavors and what we are talking about is the shear enjoyment of a wine. When you taste a well-made Argentine or Chilean wine you can appreciate it just as much as a good Napa Valley wine. But one thing for sure, as I have pointed out previously, the big advantage for Argentine and Chilean wines is the price. A very good Malbec from Argentina or Carmenere from Chile is in the $10 to $20 range.

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Buenos Aires and Goodbye Argentina

We are very happy that we ended our Argentina/Chile trek with the final four days in the fantastic city of Buenos Aires. We have seen small towns, the wine country and Patagonia grandeur in both Argentina and Chile and now it is time to enjoy the big city life.

La Recoleta Cemetery is just around the corner from our hotel. This is where Eva Peron is entombed, as well as many other rich and famous Argentinians. The cemetery is very unusual. The location is in the middle of this upscale neighborhood and has an amazing number of mausoleums arranged in long narrow pathways. Some are very elaborate while others are in shabby condition. People meander through the cemetery in a very slow and quiet manner. There are also many feral cats in the cemetery, and they often like to relax at the entrance of one of the grave sites.

Eve Peron's grave site at La Recoleta Cemetery
Eve Peron's grave site at La Recoleta Cemetery

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