Tag Archives: bonardo

Mini-reviews 156: The geeking out edition

drinking wine
“Yes, the WC is eight. These are geeky wines.”

Reviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. This month, four wines that remind us how geeky wine can be

Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan Großes Gewächs Riesling 2016 ($85, sample, 12%): This German white, which is apparently one of the country’s great wines, showed by magically and mysteriously — maybe a sample from a German wine trade group? It certainly is stunning wine, complex and layered (stone fruit, minerality); frankly, much more than I’m used to tasting. And it should age for years and years. Imported by Banville Wine Merchants

Gillmore País Mariposa 2019 ($17, sample, 13%): The pais grape — known as mission in the U.S. — is about as trendy as these things get. Having said that, this red wasn’t very interesting. It tasted more like supermarket Beaujolais — some cherry fruit, too tart, yet thin and watery. Imported by Global Vineyard Importers

Bodega Marichal Tannat 2019 ($16, sample, 13%): This Uruguayan red is adequate tannat — rough-ish and heavy-ish, but not heavy or rough, with some almost cherry fruit and surprising acidity. If you like tannat, you’ll like this. Imported by Global Vineyard Importers

Tercos Bonarda 2020 ($14, sample, 13.5%): Fine example of bonardo, a little known red grape from Argentina. It’s a little earthy, with some spice and dark fruit, but not heavy. Imported by Global Vineyard Importers

Photo:”Deya Drinking Wine at Four Point Winery” by nan palmero is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Two terrific wines from Nieto Senetiner, plus two others well worth drinking

nieto senetiner wine reviewsThe Wine Curmudgeon has long been in a quandary about Argentine wine. The best tend to be expensive, and there are other wines I’d rather spend the money on than its malbecs and red blends. The least expensive wines are too often corporately dull, and overpriced at that.

Which is why it was such a pleasure to taste the wines from Nieto Senetiner, a 126-year-old Argentine producer whose wines were none of those things. Santiago Mayorga, one of the company’s winemakers, knew exactly what I was talking about when I explained my dilemma to him; the company’s approach, he said, was to offer better quality than grocery store malbecs, but at a better price than the country’s high-end wines.

Much better prices, actually. These four wines are each worth buying, and the first two are exceptional values and highly recommended:

? Torrontes 2013 ($12, sample, 13.5%): A bone dry torrontes, which is as welcome as it is rare. Most versions of this white wine, the most popular in Argentina, are sweet to off dry, and too many are sickly sweet. There are delicious off-dry torrontes, but this one has even those beat. Look for an almost lemon tonic flavor with a hint of orange peel, and much more subtle than a sauvignon blanc. Pair this with grilled vegetables, Thanksgiving, even fried fish.

?Bonardo 2012 ($13, sample, 14%): Malbec gets most of the attention, but bonardo has long been an important red grape in Argentina. This wine shows why — juicy strawberry, but also spicy and almost minty. Spaghetti wine in the finest sense of the word, as well as anything with red meat and roast chicken.

? Malbec 2012 ($13, sample, 14%): I drink very little malbec; even well-made versions are usually too soft and fruity for me. This wine, somehow, is varietally correct, but plummier, darker, and deeper, and the well-constructed tannins add interest. There is more to this than just cola and blueberry aromas.

? Don Nicanor Estate Malbec 2011 ($20, sample, 14.5%): This red takes the previous malbec to the next level, with more berry flavor and some black pepper without the alcohol getting in the way. Much more complex than I thought a malbec at this price could be.

A tip o’ the WC fedora to Eli Cohn at Veritas in Dallas, who helped out with the tasting and told me how good the bonardo would be.