What We're Drinking Now: 2008 Bramare Malbec, Valle de Uco
For our day in Lujan de Cuyo, we were scheduled to visit Vina Cobos at 9:30 in the morning. Ultimately, the unclear directions available and the lack of discernable street signs led to us arriving closer to 11:30. Nevertheless, we were welcomed in with a smile and a nice tasting spread.
We tasted the Felino Chardonnay and Malbec first; they're the entry level wines for Vina Cobos and made to be drunk within 5 years. In between this level and their flagship label, Cobos, is the Bramare brand. They tasted us on two region-specific Malbecs from Valle de Uco and Lujan de Cuyo. Between the two of them, we felt the Valle de Uco really stood out.
The side by side comparison allowed us to pick out the individual characteristics of each region and clearly identify the differences. While the Lujan de Cuyo and Valle de Uco Malbecs both had rich, deep berry flavors, and well integrated oak spice, the Valle de Uco had much more acid. This helped round out the structure in the wine, and was reminicient of the cooler night time temps in Valle de Uco. The warmer evenings in Lujan de Cuyo cause deeper concentration and color, but less acidity and structure.
After going back to this wine a few times, we feel the ideal food pairing would be a pan seared bone-in pork chop with an apple/cranberry chutney, and a side of herbed roasted new potatoes. We actually had it with a vegetarian friend and made a roasted red pepper polenta with a balsamic mushroom reduction drizzled over the top and it was fabulous.