Since I have been running this column for a few years, it should be no surprise that I've reviewed several Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignons. And this is not our first wine from the popular Mendoza region. The web site for Finca Flichman (does that sound Argentinian is in Spanish only. Their vineyards occupy 350 hectares (about 900 acres) in the Maipu and Tupungolo subregions of Mendoza. Tupungolo has a high elevation and consequently its fruit is harvested 16 to 20 days later than in Maipu. Where do today's grapes come from? Silly boy, at this price they come from wherever production peaked. The winery was acquired in 1997 by Sogrape, a huge Portuguese conglomerate. Our companion wine is an Israeli red blend (Cabernet Sauvignon +) costing about 50% more.
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review were purchased at the full retail price.
Misterio Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 13.5% alcohol about $9.
We can start with the marketing materials. "Tasting Note : Deep ruby red colour with an intense note of cassis, dried herbs and black pepper; dry, medium to full bodied; ripe fruit flavour with silky tannins in a long finish. Serving Suggestion : Excellent with grilled or roasted meats or poultry." And now for my review.
At the first sips this wine was round but excessively sweet. It displayed good acidity and light tannins. When paired with slow-cooked round steak its sweetness was dominant but this wine was oaky. Chickpeas darkened the Cab, which became a tad less sugary. The accompanying potatoes gave the libation round acidity. When I doused lots of Chinese hot sauce on the meat the drink became acceptably dry - or almost and it was nicely long. Fresh pineapple whisked away the acidity in my glass, replaced by a burnt taste.
The next meal began with Cuban style coated peanuts. In response our Argentine friend was dark with bouncy acidity and light tannins. The piece de resistance was boxed Stuffed Manicotti that included Ricotta and Mozzarella cheese in a tomato sauce that I augmented with lots of grated Parmesan cheese. To be frank the whole mixture was fairly tasteless. And the marriage? Red's acidity seemed cut off. I sensed cherries but once again the liquid was excessively sweet. In all fairness, it was long. Fresh blackberries neatly cut off the wine. A Ferrero Rond Noir chocolate allowed the drink's acidity to return. But there was not much else in my glass.
My final meal focusedon homemade sauteed chicken breast spiced with cumin, coriander, chilies, garlic powder, and probably more. This delicious dish rendered the Misterio mouth filling. I did sense some chocolate as well as balanced acidity and tannins. Quinoa managed to darken this liquid. A melange of sauteed red and orange peppers sweetened and weakened our Mendoza companion.
Final verdict. As it happens all too often, I won't be buying this wine. Or even finishing whatever remained in the bottle.
Levi Reiss is the author or co-author of ten computer and Internet books, but really would rather just drink fine German or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Check out his global wine website is http://www.theworldwidewine.com with a weekly column reviewing $10 wines and new sections writing about (theory) and tasting (practice) organic and kosher wines.
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