I hate the idea of a cork in a bottle of wine. I really hate it. The wine I had planned on enjoying with tonight's dinner (spicy homemade meatballs in tomato sauce tossed with pasta) was one of the long, long list of wines I've had that was tainted with TCA. So back to the store it will go for a replacement bottle. Not a huge deal to replace, but it screwed up my food/wine experience and it could have been even worse had I had a fancy dinner planned with expensive food, guests and all. So I went back into the cellar and just grabbed something red that I've been wanting to try.
I came back upstairs with the 2008 La Flor Pulenta Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza. I've had and enjoyed a number of wines from the Pulenta line-up, and their younger, less expensive La Flor line, over the past year or so and this was no exception. The 2008 Cabernet has a pretty ruby color and an inviting nose of green tobacco, wintergreen, earth and worn saddle leather. No California fruit bomb here, the aromas follow through to the palate where they are joined by sweet/tart raspberry fruit, bay leaf, green olive and moderate, dusty tannins. Quite simply, this is the "green" side of Cabernet (tobacco, olive, etc.) done right. There's no underripe fruit or nasty green bell pepper flavors here. It's just a pretty, restrained interpretation of the grape that I suspect speaks to the terroir.
It didn't go with the spicy meatballs at all. But I can't hold that against it as this kind of wine was never intended to accompany such food. So that was a wash.
And I know I bring this up every damn time I review something from Argentina, but why can't they consistently turn out wines of this quality for this price in California these days? Is real estate on the left coast just too expensive? I haven't had a $15 Napa Cabernet this deep and complex in nearly 20 years.