I attended a great tasting earlier this week featuring Argentinian wines that Paul Hobbs had a hand in making and/or bringing into the United States. Hobbs is the importer for the Pulenta wines and is the co-owner/winemaker for the Vina Cobos line-up. The wines were presented by Aaron Meeker of LDF; the local distributor for these wines.
2008 Pulenta Estate XIV Pinot Gris, Mendoza - Light in color with white flowers, pear and green apple aromas. Lean and tangy on the palate with mineral notes and considerable acid. Doesn't seem to have the tropical fruit concentration it had this time last year. About $17
2009 Vina Cobos Felino Chardonnay, Mendoza - Pale color with a buttery, yeasty, pear nose. The oak is subtle (about 1/4 of this is fermented in oak) but apparent; as is the acid and alcohol. Crisp, with a pleasantly bitter/flinty finish. Typical of the restrained style of Chardonnay that Hobbs is known for. $20
2009 Vina Cobos Felino Malbec, Mendoza - Deep color with buttered toast, raspberry and dark cocoa aromas and flavors. Firmly acidic with raspberry and cranberry flavors on the palate. Once again, typical of the restrained Paul Hobbs style. That being said, this bottle was considerably richer than the (hugely disappointing) bottle I had back in April. $20
2007 Pulenta Estate III Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza - Opaque color. New oak apparent on the nose. Aromas and flavors include wintergreen, black fruits and olives. Quite rich and tannic with an impossibly long, minerally finish. As this wine sits in the glass it develops a strong note of green tobacco. $26
2009 Vina Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza - A thick wine with black currant and sweet raspberry notes balanced by earthier tones of black olive and green tobacco. I thought this was a little disappointing following the beautiful Pulenta Cabernet. $20
2006 Vina Cobos Bramare Marchiori Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza - The most full-bodied and oak-driven wine of the evening. A very rich, smoky Cabernet with mocha and black fruit flavors and monster tannins just begging for a well-marbled steak. Tannins and acidic structure suggests further aging may be in order. About $45
2004 Pulenta Estate XII Cabernet Franc "Tardio," Mendoza - A late harvest Cabernet Franc from Argentina? You bet it is! Tawny red color with a complex array of flowers, vanilla, dill, caramel and apricot aromas and flavors. Very tawny port-like with medium sweetness, a medium body and a slightly greenish finish. Aaron claims this is a great partner with a salad with a vinaigrette. I would very much like to try it with some nuts, fruit and cheese (particularly a nice blue cheese). Pricey at $35/375ml