This year the overall race winner was Daniel Diaz, a local pro from Argentina.
This week's challenge visits Argentina and celebrates the local's victory with a bit of Malbec mayhem.
Flying Trout Malbec v. 2007 Lamadrid Gran Reserva Malbec
Tale of the Tape
100% Malbec from the Gamache Vineyard
Purchased for $28 at Corky Cellars
2007 Lamdrid Gran Reserva Malbec
100% Malbec from the Agrelo Estate Vineyard in Mendoza Argentina
Aged for 16 months in 100% new French Oak Barrels
Purchased for $20.99 at Bevmo
Round 1. First opening
Flying Trout literally flies into the ring, full of aggression and not the least bit intimidated. The nose is full of bright red cherries and dusty menthol spices. The palate features some complexity with dark cherry and tart cedar spices leading to a finish that is tart and peppery with a hint of sweetness.
Lamadrid is showing its experience and power with a nose featuring black cherry and big savory, smokey overtones. The palate is rippling with black cherry, espresso bean, cocoa and menthol with a surprisingly dry finish of cocoa and white pepper.
Lamadrid flashes its experience and its muscles taking round 1.
Round 2. One hour after opening
The Flying Trout Luchador is back for more in the second round. The nose is bolder with dark cherries, currant, soy and some hints of orange peel . The palate is evolving too with dark cherry, leather, menthol and a dry tart peppery sweet finish.
Lamadrid looks bemused. As if to say "Who is this young challenger that dares to enter my lare?" The nose is showing black currant and dark earthy savory notes along with hints of light pepper. The palate is bold and dark; full of currants, menthol and clove spices with tart semi sweet chocolate trailing over to the finish.
Flying Trout is getting closer, but youthful energy is no match for the experienced Luchador from Mendoza. Lamadrid takes another round.
Round 3. One day after opening
Flying Trout is pulling out all the stops for the final round, leaping into the ring from the top rope. The nose is showing earthy, dusty currants while the palate features similar dark currant with some tart cocoa dust in the mix. The finish is hiding an espresso bean punch behind a smoke screen of sweet cherry bark.
Lamadrid is showing plenty of stamina with a nose that shows currant, cherry and dusty savory cocoa. The palate is ripe and dark with black cherry, semi sweet chocolate and clove spices that give way to a tart cocoa mole' infused finish.
Another close round, but Lamdrid takes the final round for a clean sweep and the victory.
Wrap up and overall observations
Both of these Malbecs were bold in the ring. The Lamadrid showed the advantages of age and time spent in barrel. It was dark, robust and spicy. And, I would have to say, one of the better Malbecs I have tasted from Argentina. Not that I have tasted that many, but I would seek this Luchador out again especially considering the $20 price tag.
I met Ashley Trout recently when she was at Corky Cellars for a wine tasting of her Flying Trout and Tero Estates wines. Both labels are fabulous. With Flying Trout Ashley focuses on Malbec. She splits her time between Washington and Argentina so she is literally making wine year-round. There are five different Flying Trout Malbecs. I will be looking for the rest of the Flying Trout clan based on my experience with the Gamache.