February Wine Club Selections Are Here!

Well it’s that time again… The joyous time that comes each month when we get to share the newest club selections with you! And once again, we found a couple of treats.

So lets talk about a couple things. First, some fun facts about Argentina and the land of Malbec.

Argentina, although known as “New World,” was involved with viticulture as far back is the mid 1500s. To put that into perspective, the Medoc region in Bordeaux was a marshland at this time, very few people knew about Rioja, Spain and the wine it was producing, and Port (as we know it) didn’t exist. But let’s call Argentina New World for the heck of it. Enter a volatile economy (some things never change) and Malbec becoming the varietal that would bring Argentina back into the wine world in a fierce way – so much so that Argentina now exports Malbec back to Cahors, France, the region considered the birthplace of Malbec!

Argentine wine originates almost entirely from a region named Mendoza. The Mendoza region is the 6th largest producer of wine in the world. It also claims the highest average vineyard elevations at an average of 900 meters (2,900 feet). These heights would normally create temperature issues with grape growing, but a combination of mountain sun exposure and a desert-like climate give this large region the ability to produce a lot of grapes.

Many people often ask how South America is able to produce such high quality wine at a relatively low cost. Well this might shed a little light: On average, the cost of land and labor to produce grapes in Argentina is $30,000/acre. Compare that to the $300,000/acre it costs in Napa…or as we call it, the “Napa Tax,” and you get some pretty steep price differentials.

So with that information at hand, we bet you can guess that one of the selections is going to be from Argentina?

And the selections for February are:

Etude “Grace Benoist Ranch” Chardonnay, Carneros, California
As we’ve told you before, the Carneros region in California is the region in which Chardonnay creates a model for all other Chardonnay to follow. With a perfect marrying of grape and terroir, Chardonnay from Carneros takes on a brilliance unmatched. OK, so that’s our opinion (and we’ll gladly accept any taste challenges and comparisons!). Etude Wines was created about 25 years ago and became an industry standard for Napa Pinot Noir. And where great Pinot Noir is grown, so too is great Chardonnay. Enter what we call a “classic California Chardonnay.” Classic in the sense that it is not masked with oak and butter notes, but is allowed to shine to its fullest expression. This Chardonnay is elegant and graceful. Enjoy!

Bodega Calle Reserva “El Necio” Syrah, Mendoza, Argentina
So we teased you with all that Malbec talk just to hit you with a killer Syrah! An amazingly beautiful Syrah! We were so blown away by the uniqueness of this selection that we might seek out another from this small Mendoza producer in future wine club months. And when we say small producer, we mean only ~ 400 cases of this Syrah are made each year. Yep, 400 cases and we got 20! It’s kind of fun asking if we can buy 5% of the total production to share with our wine club members. This wine is going to throw some major terroir at you. Then it will follow up with a richness that is led by layers of flavor that don’t stop. It’s also organically grown and produced, harvested by hand and fermented in cement tanks. After fermentation is complete, the juice is transferred to French Oak for 12 months before it is released to market.

Cheers, Wine Club Members – can’t wait to hear what you think of these beauties!

Craig & Danielle