Megadesgustacion. Translation: Mega Wine Tasting
Or Mega D, or wine tasting blow-out. However you call it, it was the wine tasting event of the Vendimia. Over 200 of Argentina's best bodegas set up temporary booths for the three-day block party making it the perfect welcome to South America's best known wine region.
They offered two options: a classic tasting of 6 wines for $30 pesos or a premium tasting of 4 wines for $60 pesos. There were four of us, so we each opted to do the premium tasting and then share the tastes. 4 x 4...nice! Talk about getting the most for our pesos!
They gave each of us a big glass and a list of wineries and sent us off to start tasting. We decided to try whites first, and unfortunately, there was only one premium white: an espumante. It was decent, but unremarkable and I didn't even write down the name or any tasting notes. We had no choice but to move onto the reds.
We sought out the red wines marked as premium, and like the espumante, most were just meh...until Gimenez Riili. Finally a Malbec with some guts! We tasted the 2007 Malbec Reserva and fell in love with the structured, cherry/plum pallate and aromas of deep berry and spice. Right then and there we decided we had to visit their winery.
That seemed to break our mediocre-wine curse and we proceeded to find a few other absolutely delicious Argentine reds. The 2008 Altos las Hormigas Reserva was super easy to drink and had a nice depth to it that was lacking in other Malbecs we tasted.
Then, there was Domados; all three of their 2007 Malbec blends were fantastic, and the best wines of the evening. We thought blending in the other varietals bolstered the Malbec perfectly, and while each blend was well-rounded, balanced, and interesting, our favorite (by a hair) was the Malbec/Cab/Merlot combonation. It was rich, smooth and spicy with a sliver of tannin, a hint of dust and that homemade baked berry pie note that Malbec is known for.
We stopped by Bodegas López, since they were the only Winery that brought out significantly older vintages, and compared the Montchenot Gran Reserva 1995 and 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec blend.
While it was fun going back and forth and the 1995 is the oldest Argentine wine we've tasted yet, it was sadly way past it's prime, nearly fruitless and lacked depth. In comparison, the 2001 had a bit more acid and fruit but the aromas and flavors were starting to fall off.
After 16 different wines, some delicious, many not-so-delicious, we felt we were finally getting a feel for Argentine wine and had a mad case of palate fatigue. When the bodegas stopped pouring at 12:30am, we headed straight home for dinner and a heavy wine-induced sleep.