From £6.16 - and $12?
I have a lot of time for this Argentine producer, which owes much of its French elegance to Bordeaux émigré Hervé Joyaux Fabre of Fabre Montmayou. Purple Pagers can read the enthusiastic tasting note I wrote last June about this particular wine, and can also read about Disentangling the Vistalbas, this wine being made by one of them. I'm bringing Viñalba Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Mendoza to your attention again because the UK supermarket Waitrose which had already reduced it from its usual price of £8.99 a bottle to £7.19, are now offering it in stores at £6.49 and online at just £6.16 until this Tuesday, 10 April.
Last June I gave it a GV for good value even at the full price. It carries its 14.5% alcohol well and I like its combination of ripeness and freshness. I tasted it earlier this week at the same time as a couple of cask samples of 2011 red bordeaux - Ch Petit Bocq of St-Estèphe and its stablemate the cheekily named Lagneau de Pauillac - and I can't tell you how gratefully I fell on the Argentine wine after the austerity of the Médocs. Admittedly these baby Bordeaux were at a very different stage in their lives from the lush Viñalba, and may have suffered from being sent all the way to London from Bordeaux, but they didn't fill me with enthusiasm for the 2011 vintage.
The Viñalba is thoroughly rewarding and a steal at the reduced price. I'm not crazy about the pseudo cork but I love the wine (I so often admire Cabernets in Mendoza). These were grown at altitudes over 950 m from 15-year-old vines planted to 5,000 vines per ha and irrigated sparingly - although they still yielded a generous average of 60 hl/ha. Picked by hand, the grapes were given a five-day cold soak before fermentation at 25 °C and three pumpovers a day.
Drink this with powerfully flavoured savoury goods - I could imagine some synergy with strong tomato-based sauces, and certainly with a superior ragu - and with the pleasure that a bargain always brings.
Should you need to get technical with Waitrose staff, the product code is 46585.
I am told that the Fabre Montmayou Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Mendoza that is so widely available in the US from around $12 is a slightly different blend. I'd be inclined to give it a try at under $15, although the various Laithwaites wine clubs in the US (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Zagat etc) seem to want closer to $18 for it according to winesearcher.com.