Growing grapes in the San Juan region of Argentina cannot be that difficult, it offers the perfect mix of geology and 300+ days of sunshine per year. If you were to design a wine making laboratory, this would be a great model to follow. So what’s the challenge to local wine makers, and why aren’t San Juan wines uniformly acknowledge as being the best of the best? The first part of that answer is consumer preferences are never predictable – and secondly wine making is not a laboratory based process. Wine makers find opportunities in anomalies to produce wines with character – and when your grapes are grown in perfect conditions, anomalies occur less frequently. The two parts of the answer come together when consumers look for differences in wines – and they have a hard time distinguishing the value of one product from another. This creates a situation where consumers become reluctant to buy a product that they may not perceive to be of greater value than an alternate. Maybe it is time for New World producers to stop selling on varietal first, character second. Consumers benefit from the fact that indistinguishable wines by virtually creating an infinite supply relative to demand, which pushes prices lower and removes confusion from the equation. The consumer loss, however, is they are left with indistinguishable wines.
But until i am appointed king of world and change the way wine is made, bought and sold around the globe, here is a wine that is marketed as an Argentinian Malbec, but is a strong candidate for being marketed as a solid character wine. San Juan’s Graffigna Centario Malbec modestly delivers a medium bodied version of Argentinian Malbec with dryer rather than jammy berry and current – with a hint of acidy finish. So in that moment before this wine touches your lips, be ready to be carried away – more than blown away.
Open a bottle of this wine and enjoy it with Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane.” Like the wine, you would expect the song to be a powerhouse, but the song ends up narrating the calm in the eye of the hurricane – with peripheral distorted guitar setting the mood. Much like the Graffigna Centanario Malbec you find beauty in what you might otherwise expect to be an explosion.
Leave a comment and me know what wine you would match with this music.