Sunday, October 4, 2009
WHERE THE HECK IS THE SAN JUAN REGION?
This month, I picked out two new wines from Argentina's San Juan region, which lies a bit north of the well-recognized Mendoza region. The wines are from Bodegas Cailla, the Alta Pinot Grigio 2008 and Alta Shiraz 2008. Both of these wines impressed me in that there were at once very unique in relation to their country of origin, and also to their grape varieties.
The Pinot Grigio 2008 is light, acidic, and clean, yet with a focused bit of ripe peach, nectarine and kumquat. There is a soft hint of white flowers in the nose, and the palate sees a round fleshy stone-fruit character that is remarkedly different from many of those Italian Pinot Grigios. The Shiraz 2008 is also somewhat different and unexpected. With hints of plums and figs, along with fresh-cut tobacco leaf and notes of mint and basil, it straddles the line between a Barossa Valley style Shiraz, and its cousin from the Northern Rhone. There is a good presence of acidity within its design, giving it terrific food-accompaniment potential.
I love it when I can find good wines at a great value, and with each of these clocking in under $10 a bottle, it's doubly cool.