Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Washington Malbec v. Argentina

This is the time of year that the pro riders are looking for warmer places to ride.  Like the Malbec grape, many riders are heading South.

Malbec has migrated South from France and setup shop in Argentina in the last half-century.  At the present time many people associate Malbec with Argentina rather than its original home in France.  While Malbec is typically a blending grape in most parts of the world, it is often seen as a single varietal in Argentina and more recently in Washington.

This week's matchup features a Washington Malbec taking on a Southern Hemisphere challenger from Argentina.

2008 Gamache Estate Malbec v. 2006 Rutini Malbec

Tale of the Tape

2008 Gamache Estate Malbec

100% Malbec from the Gamache estate vineyard in the Columbia Valley AVA

Aged in 37% new American Oak, 25% new French Oak and 37% Neutral Oak barrels

Purchased at Esquin for $19.99.

2006 Rutini Malbec

100% Malbec from Mendoza at 1,000 metres above sea level in the Andes.

Aged for 12 months in 100% new French Oak Barrels.

Purchased from Corky Cellars for $12.74.

Round 1. First Opening

The Gamache grappler is dark and mysterious entering the ring behind a dense smoke screen.  The nose is smokey with dark berry jam and dusty cracked pepper notes.  The palate is equally brooding with dark berry, tart cracked pepper that hangs around to the finish mixing in with some notes of coffee bean. 

The Rutini is wickedly sultry.  The nose is featuring smoky roasted meat and usty dark fruit.  The palate is showing dark currant, tart spices, roasted coffee and cracked pepper with a slightly sweet tannic spiced dry finish.

These two luchadors wasted little time getting up in each other's grill.  This is a tough call.  The Rutini takes round 1 by the slimmest of margins.

Round 2. One hour after opening

The Gamache is changing up, coming out from behind the smoke screen and working up a new surprise.  The nose is featuring toffee, cinnamon, baking spice and dark sweet black berry.  The palate shows dark fruit, baking spice, cracked pepper and a tart toffee cocoa finish with some hints of pepper.

The Rutini isn't falling for the Gamache change up.  Sticking with the power moves and bringing the thunder with a nose of dark currant, peat bog, cedar spice box and cracked pepper.  The palate is full of tart dark fruit and dry coffee spices with a finish of tart coffee bean and cocoa.

The Rutini took the fight straight to the Gamache Malbec.  Gamache withstood the onslaught and took the round with a sneaky sweet change of pace.

Round 3. One day after opening

On to the final round and the match is all even at one round a piece. 

The Gamache is still going strong with a nose featuring dark berries, menthol and sawdust.  The palate is showing dark berries, tart coffee bean and toffee spices that stick around for the finish.

The Rutini is smoothing out and getting sophisticated.  The nose is showing raspberry, loganberry, earthy spices and dusty cocoa.  The palate is featuring dark currant and tart Asian spices with a finish that is tart and lightly sweet and spicy.

Rutini changed things up again and took the final round based on that sophisticated surprise attack.

Wrap up and overall observations

This was a close battle with both Malbecs showing some brooding smoky character and evolving over the course of the match to feature more spices, toffee and dark fruit and berry notes.

I would give both of these luchadors a solid 88 and would recommend looking for them in your local wine shop.

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