*Straight out of the bottle: The Catena Malbec is a solid South American wine that also delivers a nice consistency between vintages. First tastes straight out the bottle indicate that this wine is still on the younger side and needed some time to breathe and open up. We decided to decant this wine and see how it fared with some time and oxidation.
*Decanted (for about an hour): With time, this wine became more approachable and less abrasive than before. It is a medium-to-full bodied wine with nice varietal characteristics. It starts off with a nice, soft balance of bright, red fruit. As it glides over the palate, it takes on a darker, masculine character with oak, leather, tobacco and dark fruit. It carries a beautiful smooth and consistent texture and leaves the palate with a nice lasting finish. I would say that this is a respectable, decent wine!
Raw Score: 81 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $20): 85
This Patriota is 60% Bonarda, 40% Malbec.
*Straight out of the bottle: Even though this wine is only 40% Malbec, it transcends classic varietal characteristics. It was surprisingly very earthy with a unusual mineral undertone that was consistent throughout the palate. It is a bigger wine carrying a medium-to-fuller body. It also started slightly fruit forward with subtle hints of red fruit mixed with chocolate, transcended into a nice buttery middle and finished on the drier side. The tannins in this vintage are perfectly aged and well-balanced, which adds to the smooth finish and nice structure throughout.
While it was enjoyable to experience this wine, there are better traditional malbecs within this price point.
Raw Score: 80 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $18): 75
Pairing: We paired this wine with a grilled new york strip steak and fresh vegetables – and it paired perfectly. With the characteristics of this wine, it would pair well with grilled beef and pork meats.
Lastest vintage from Felino – 2009 Malbec – Mendoza, Argentine; Viña Cobos
*Straight out of the bottle: First impressions instantly tells us that this vintage is probably one of the best ones yet. This wine has great characteristics, however, in its present state, it needs some time to open up and breathe. Right now, this wine is a medium to full body, is very fruit forward, yet finishes extremely dry almost like a cabernet sauvignon.
We chose to decant this wine.
*Decanted (for about an hour): With time, this younger malbec opened up very nicely. While it kept its dry finish, the forward part of the wine opened up and changed dramatically. New flavors of leather, oak, and dark cherry added nicely to the fruit and spices that were previously present. Great wine, especially for the price!
Raw Score: 86 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $17): 90
*Straight out of the bottle: First tastes tell us that this wine needs some time to open up. Young tannins seem abrasive and need to mellow out. Nice velvety texture gives us some promise that this wine has potential.
We chose to decant this wine.
*Decanted (for about an hour): For this vintage, decanting will be of great benefit to bringing out some great qualities. This malbec became a lot more approachable as the tannins became softer and smoother, adding to the nice rich, velvety texture throughout the palate. Strong flavors of berries, a slight creaminess, and oak deviate from the spiciness and earthy qualities I would have liked to see from the varietal.
This medium-to-full bodied wine, however, did become a pleasant surprise that was worth waiting for.
Raw Score: 88 Handicap Score (Compared to other wines and varietals in its price range $20): 89