Wednesday Wines – Episode 14

Episode 14 – 1st July 2020

Two eminently foodie wines this week with a stunning barbecue red from Argentina and a beguiling, highly sophisticated Tuscan rosé.

2018 D.V. Catena, Malbec, Catena Zapata, Mendoza, Argentina (£12.00, reduced to £10.00, from 8th – 28th July, Sainsbury’s).

There is little mystery here, because this wine is made from a tried, tested and repeated Catena formula and this recipe always works perfectly.  Catena layers flavour in this hearty Malbec by blending grapes sourced from three different vineyards, the Lunlunta Vineyard (at 920m elevation), the El Cepillo, Eugenio Bustos Vineyard (at 1090m elevation) and the Gualtallary Vineyard (at 1450m elevation).  The sites have subtly different flavours and this is what brings depth and class to this single varietal wine.  In addition, the fruit is then gently matured for ten months in three different ages of oak barrels – new, second and third use oak.  This technique adds differing levels of spice and detail to the wine and the result of this careful handling is a Malbec which, at a tenner, is absolutely amazing.  Please decant it for at least half an hour to allow it to expand and unravel because this is a very rewarding red and one which would love a good British barbecue, if only the sun would come out again!

2019 Ninfalia Rosato, La Fiorita, Tuscany, Italy (£23.90, www.hedonism.co.uk).

Coming from a small Brunello di Montalcino estate, Ninfalia is the very first rosé released from this red wine specialist property.  Made from  100% Sangiovese, the grapes are selected from younger vines and they are picked a little earlier than those used for the Rosso and Brunello at this estate.  Certified organic in 2019, this is a lovely, vibrant and resonant wine and it gathers much of its keenness from its maturation in concrete eggs as opposed to steel tanks or oak barrels.  A cool, mineral-soaked, vitally refreshing wine rosé, it could not have a finer representation of its character on the label.  The gorgeous little sprite depicted hints that this is a cheeky, light and magical wine, but this is not the whole story because underneath the enchanting exterior is a more robust and foodie style of wine that one might expect. The trademark Sangiovese bitterness and tang help to offset the lively cranberry and cherry mid-palate and this means that this wine is not a light-hearted aperitif number, but a much more gastronomic creation.