Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Wines (under $10)

Please forgive me, I know I've missed a couple weeks, but I'm back.  Today, I have a red wine review. After reviewing a couple whites I thought it might be time to open a red wine that I've been holding on to for a while.  Knowing I was having BBQ for dinner, I opened the 2012 Cascada Peak Malbec. Malbec is the quintessential wine of South America, and before beginning my review I feel that you need a fair warning... I adore malbecs from Mendoza, Argentina. Commonly these malbecs are bold, smoky, and smooth. They have rich blackberry notes amongst well-integrated tanins. For this reason, my favorite malbec is Gascon, its consistency of flavor and moderate price point made me a believer in South American wines, after just the first sip.

I feel you need to know how passionate I am about Argentine malbecs because it is important to understand my expectations of the wine prior to popping the cork. The richness of  blackberry, aroma of smoke, and look of ink is what I was expecting when I opened my bottle of Cascada Peak. Instead, I found a thin cranberry colored, chalky smelling, cherry tasting wine.   If you, like myself, prefer full-bodied, dry red wines, this is not the wine for you, however, for those who prefer the malbecs grown in their founding origin of France, this may be a great little gem for under $10.  Cahors, France known for its cooler climate produces wines that are cherry forward and provide a much brighter acidity than their Mendoza grandchildren.  This thin and bright malbec definitely did not deliver what I wanted from a Mendoza wine. I needed that jammy, bold red to hold up against the bbq chicken I intended to drink it along side.  Had I wanted a straight-forward easy-drinking red I would definitely have opened the right bottle, and could turn to this bottle every time.

The Cascada Peak did remind me of other malbecs that I have tried for under the $10 price point.  Unfortunately, none have delivered the inky and smoky complexity of the $12 Gascon and certainly none have touched the beauty of the Norton Reserve at $15.  So, my search for a full-bodied and complex malbec under $10 continues.  I have, however, added another enjoyable wine to the family.  Had Cascada Peak called their Malbec a red blend, or even if they used the ever vanishing term "table wine" to describe their wine, I believe I would have found it much more enjoyable simply because my expectations would have waned from what they were.  My verdict is that this wine is perfectly lovely for drinking on the deck on a cool summer's eve or for a pre-dinner wine served along with simple appetizers.

Tasting Notes:
Color-  Cranberry red
Nose-  Chalk, soil, cherry, and pine.
Taste-  Cherry, cranberry, hints of oak and clove

This easy-drinking fruit forward malbec makes it a great pairing for soft cheeses and fruity appetizers.  It averages between $7 and $9.  I recommend it for someone who prefers thinner reds that don't need to be paired with food.

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