I returned from Argentina last weekend, but I never discussed the final vineyard we visited and the one I'd been looking forward to all trip - Vina Cobos. Vina Cobos was created by a partnership amongst Paul Hobbs, Andrea Marchiori and Luis Barrand. Paul Hobbs is one of my favorite producers out of Sonoma. He makes incredible Cabernet Sauvignon and every wine of his I've tried has an incredible nose.
The Vino Cobos tour was actually quite brief - not that we minded after 2 days of tours and differing explanations for the same fermentation process. We then got down to the fun part, the tasting. I was hoping to taste some of the high end Vina Cobos labels, but it was the last day of the tour and I was exhausted and light on cash so I wasn't up for the additional tastings. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I should have just sucked it up, but that's what too much cheese, too little sleep and warm weather when you're body is expecting cold will do to you!
However, what we did taste was terrific. Like many of the Mendoza vineyards we visited, Vina Cobos has different labels - Felino is their value line, Bramare is their mid-tier and Vina Cobos is their high end. We tasted the 2008 Felino Malbec, the 2008 Felino Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2006 Bramare Malbec. My favorite was the Cabernet Sauvignon. To me, it was as good as some of Hobbs' Sonoma Cabs, at 1/4 to 1/5th of the price! Wonderful nose and palette of cassis with a slight hint of smoke. I even got some minerality - almost like wet pavement, which was unexpected and yet so pleasant. Or maybe it was just a whiff from the outside because it rained a little that morning. Though I can get it here, I just had to pick up a bottle. I liked the Malbecs as well. The Felino Malbec was what I've now come to expect from a young Malbec - deep purple in color, a lot of plum and raspberry on the nose with some pepper and earth notes. Quite tasty. The Bramare Malbec had more of a cooked fruit/raisin nose though the palette was very smooth with some bright red berry notes.
I've noticed that most of the older Malbecs we tried (2006 and earlier) had that raisin/cooked nose. However, almost all of these "older" Malbecs also had a brighter, more fresh fruit palette, like the Bramare. Really interesting. I'm guessing it's a function of how hot it gets in Argentina.
And yet here I am back in the cold.....Though it was a long trip down (10+ hour flight), it was worth it. Now I just have to figure out which new world wine region I visit next....or maybe I go old world and check out the land of Riesling or Burgundy....
Well, until the next sniff, sip or quaff (which will be tomorrow's "Wine Expo" at the Javits Center in NYC),