I have my reservations every time I see “Reserve” on a bottle of wine. Argentina, like most countries, does not have standards for what Reserve really means in terms of added value or quality. It usually means that it is not the entry level range, and probably it sat in real oak barrels. The 09 Santa Ana Reserve Malbec did make a good arguemtent to be considered a cut above the rest.
The nose showed great spice along side the fruit. Malbec can feature spice in it’s typical descriptors, but in this case they were clearly defined. Good start. The gulp was very wet, with supple tannins, that nice spice all washed in ripe fruit. This wine had enough characteristics to place it in Mendoza, but also set a new trail for itself with the juicy/wet texture. The wine making style was more Languedoc than Cahors if your reference points are tuned for France.
Musical Match: Cee Lo Green’s Crazy. This wine has all the oomph to be a Mendoza Malbec, but the ripe, juicy notes transform the wine like the simple orchestration and gut wrenching lyrics transform this very simple song into a classic. Reserve quality indeed. (click on still image of Gnarles Barkley to go to Youtube.com)
Special thanks to the Wines of Argentina for providing me transportation, great lodging, amazing food and access to the wonderful wine and winemakers of Mendoza and Cafayate during a promotional tour of Argentina for 10 days in July 2011. This wine was sampled during that promotional tour.