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Urban Uco Malbec - 2010

Dark Fruit Taste, Bombastic

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On a long weekend in New York City, my first stop was completely by accident, but a nice surprise- acclaimed Chef Bobby Flay's Bar Americain, located in the heart of mid-town. We went to the restaurant with the thought that we would be paying an arm and a leg, just for the location and the name, but we were excited and ready to enjoy a nice girls-night-out. When we were seated and given the wine list, everyone looked at me (the resident wine drinker), to make our selection. My predicament started right off the bat because everyone in our group did not enjoy the same wines. There were six of us, four of whom were drinking white, and two (including myself) drinking red.

I opened the wine list and was very impressed; though some wines were extremely pricey, there were some very exquisite wines on the list, which under other circumstances I would have loved to try. Since we were not all drinking the same wine, and we were most likely ordering multiples of each, the price range I was trying to stay within was $40 and under. Given the price range, my options were very limited. For my white wine drinkers-- I ordered them a simple New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It was easy picking this white, since most of them were huge fans of the Sauvignon Blanc grape.

Now for myself and the other red wine drinker, I had to put forth a little more effort and make a more conscious decision. We had not ordered our food yet, and the other red drinker informed me she did not want anything “too dry”. Given those circumstances I bounced back and forth between a Shiraz, Pinot Noir, or a Malbec. With a decision based on nothing more than a gut feeling I ordered the 2010 Urban Uco Malbec. This is a Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina, more specifically from the Uco Valley area of Mendoza (which is high altitude, right at the foothills of the Andes).

When the server opened the bottle I was able to smell the dark fruit just from the cork, and had a great feeling. Once he poured the taste, the dark and deep egg-plantish color vibrantly bounced off the white table cloth-- and at this point I knew this was a pretty good decision. I lifted the wine up and took my first whiff from the glass, and the smell was amazing. Dark, jammy raspberry, hints of plum and prunes, and just a touch of spice filled my nasal passages. I sipped the wine, letting the flavor pour through my whole mouth. Taste of stewed prunes, blackberry jam, and dark cherries quickly filled my mouth. As I finished my first sip, I was left with the lingering flavor of the fruit, and yet a small hint of herbal notes on the back of the palate. The wine was slightly dry, yet very smooth with medium tannins. The server quickly got the go-ahead to pour the wine, since it was exactly what I was looking for.

As we drank the wine it opened up, and complemented each bite of food put in my mouth. My choice was a smoked rack of pork, which, in my opinion, was the perfect pairing, bringing out the smokey and earthy undertones in the Malbec. Before I even noticed, we were already on to bottle number two, and some of the white wine drinkers were also enjoying a taste of this Malbec-- I was pleased, and had done well with this choice.

As I was sipping and enjoying the smooth flavor of the Malbec, I inspected the bottle a little closer, and noticed something very surprising-- the alcohol content was almost 15%. This explained my overwhelming feeling of happiness and carefree, but was completely shocked because the taste would have never given way to such high alcohol content. The acidity was bright, but never too much to handle, always succumbing to any bite of food put in my mouth.

As our night was rounding out, we decided to finish with a small chocolate tart, which was the perfect ending note to my wine. The creaminess of the dark chocolate was just enough in one bite to really bring out the oak in the wine, and the slight flavor of cocoa beans. I was feeling great, the taste of the wine was lingering in my mouth, and I was satisfied.

This wine received 89 points by Wine Spectator, and also 87 points by Wine Enthusiast. Given the price of this wine (retail should be around $10), the complexity it produced, and the region of its origin -- I will go right along with the other scores, and give this 87 points myself, making this a Bombastic wine!

Angela Campanella - Wine Reviewer and Contributor

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