Two new wine reviews. Malbec and Merlot.

2012-HandCraft-Malbec.jpg

As promised, tonight is wine night. Recently we’ve enjoyed a couple value wines…well, less than $20, anyway.

Between the 2012 HandCraft Malbec retailing for $13 and the 2010 Ronan by Clinet which retailed for $14, the Malbec won in my book.

Malbec is a grape traditionally associated with Argentina. While Argentina is not Spanish in the sense that Spain is Spanish, my husband and I are excitedly anticipating our trip to Spain in May so I’ve been drinking Malbec lately. It would be the equivalent of Spain’s Tempranillo, in my way of thinking.

For the price point, the 2012 HandCraft Malbec was a nice representation of a value wine with the elements of the grape shining through. The proprietor, Cheryl Indelicato, is a third-generation vintner and melds her Italian traditions with her California sense of healthy living. Just to give her kudos, under her leadership, HandCraft raised $100,000 in 2012 for breast cancer research. It figures I’d like her wines. She just has this very conscious, take-only-what-you-need and leave-the-world-better-than-you-found-it way about her. I really like that. She added a zing of Zinfandel to her Malbec which gave this wine a juiciness and spice that I find particularly appealing in a wine.

2010 Ronan by Clinet

The 2010 Ronan was a bit lost. While the video on their website is steamy, the wine was watery for lack of another word. It just kind of disappeared for me. Made from 100 percent Merlot grapes, it’s a wine some people would like to snub because Merlot is considered so average. I, personally, really enjoy Merlot. It’s an easy sipping wine that doesn’t need food to pair with it.

As gauche as it may be, I prefer to sip my wines as opposed to food pairing them. I do food pair wine and very much appreciate how it brings out all kinds of crazy levels when a wine is paired well but so often I just like to unwind with a book, a glass of wine and maybe a cracker with some goat cheese. After a glass, I’m ready for dinner and one glass an evening is usually my limit.

This Ronan was made in the Bordeaux style and, as such, I expected it to be more bold. Again, it just left me flat and had I paired it with food, that would’ve been more disappointing, I suspect.

Once again, I picked the 2012 HandCraft Malbec up at Pasta Gigi’s. It was a new wine that Kathy had just brought in. It wasn’t even priced yet. Shoot, she might become my new go-to wine place.