I sometimes think that I should subtitle my wine blog, the place where the Bonarda grape gets promoted. I really do have to say I love it when it is done right, tannic like Cab Franc, body Cabernet Sauvignon. It even masks the wood vanillas and caramels nicely as it has a bitter side to it.
So I have salivated at the sight of a 50/50 Bonarda/Syrah blend from Mendoza called Crios by wine maker Susana Balbo at Dominio del Plata. My fingers were crossed, hoping for a ying and yang effect from these two varietals.
Nose: Not much to talk about, it had a alcohol smell to it that worked against the paltry apricot, plum raisin bouquet.
Gulp: What you get in the gulp is better than the nose. It had Typical Syrah markings, but curbed by the bitter aspect of the Bonarda. The best flavour combo of the two wines was some black pepper, presumably, from the Syrah and the bitter notes from the Bonarda. It reminded me of a tasty combo of peppered dark chocolate and blueberries. I just wish the fruit side had been more apparent. It was by itself an interesting combination of flavours, just not one that you crave to go back for a second or third glass.
If you are doing a flight of wines, this may make for a very rewarding transition step from mid to more than mid bodied wine within the context of a greater flight. As a standalone wine, you may want to make sure you are pairing it carefully, maybe a zesty bean chili?
As much as I love Bonarda, the balance offered in the 2011 Susana Balbo Domino del Plato Crios tended to cancel out to much of fruit tones from the Syrah for my taste.
Musical Match: Bob Dylan, poet laureate of folk music. Kurtis Blow, partially responsible for making RAP and Hip Hop what it is now. Two great musicians, one song, discord. Mistake. Street Rock, not making any greatest packages any time soon. To be fair, this song does stand as a time stamp for the era, and artistically it was important and brave for the two artists to collaborate. 25 years later these styles have been celebrated as part of the American cultural experience.
Now the 2011 Susana Balbo Domino del Plato Crios is much better than this song is, but the watch the video and learn how difficult it is to blend two great things. I think that this combo needs some work to transition from an interesting wine to an easy drinker, at least Syrah and Bonarda now have a launching pad – and that is a good thing.