Saturday, February 12, 2011

Graffigna Centenar Malbec `07 $9.99 (Not TJ's) ****

$9.99 @ the New Hampshire State Liquor Store on my way back from Thanksgiving at home in Maine.  WOW.  Little did I know what was lurking in the wine-rack waiting to be opened.

We had an ice storm over the past couple of days, and JPH made winter weather comfort food:  Pulled pork Enchiladas with a homemade red sauce.  When I got home from work he told me to pick a bottle to go with dinner.  I was thinking flavorful and rugged enough to stand up to chili sauce, so I went with Malbec.

Graffigna Centenar Malbec:  On my first sip, I was thinking that I chose wrong.  This is an amazingly smooth wine that it is more like a refined  Pinot Noir than an alcoholic Malbec.  Smooth, and 14% ETOH, makes it a really nice, easy drinking wine. I think that in my "Malbec Tasting Experiment" this is my favorite so far. Smooth, berries, slight tannin, dry, subtle. Dried cherry/blackberry with a smoky undercurrent.  It seems like this is an Ivy League Malbec with a foot in both worlds, Old and New; well read, refined, disciplined, but still ready for some down and dirty fun.

After aeration:  I used the Nuance and it lightened the wine, but it also flattened it a bit.  It opened up to some more complexity (oak and a hint of tobacco).  I am on the fence as to aerate it or not.  But that could be because the levels of complexity were blown out by the spiciness of the chili sauce.  JPH had beer and I think that he made the wise choice for this meal.  S. enjoyed the wine, but she also has a more developed/asbestos lined palate.

I am from Maine.  We like our food white there.  Lobster meat, potatoes, cod... you don't get much color in those. (I like to think that we save out color for sunrise on Seal Bay, Maine and Fall Foliage)  When I was growing up, garlic was considered exotic.

JPH & S. LOVE their chilis, they have exposed me to whole new world of endorphin raising capsicum. I just haven't adapted my palate to be able to taste wine AND hardcore chili peppers. I went running for the sour cream after my first bite of Red Chili Sauce, and well, my mouth never had a chance to recover. It was delicious, but also sweat inducing (which is just a sign that something's really, really good.)

In homage to their love of all things Southwest, 

here is last year's Chili Pepper Christmas wreath:

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