#Stayingathome is quite pleasant when I am enjoying a virtual wine tasting with Philippe Rolet, Estate Director of Bodegas Caro. Here I am nestled in at home in Southwest Virginia and Philippe is in his vineyard caves in Argentina, tasting wines from the Mendoza region. Life is good.
Bodegas Caro is a partnership between Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and the Catena family dating from 1999. Bodegas Caro is located in the center of the Mendoza region in Argentina. By bringing together the French and Argentine cultures, two grape varieties Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon and the wine expertise of these families, they’ve created a unique and elegant offering of wines.
Let’s start with the sweetest wine…and by that I mean the story behind the wine, not that the wine is sweet! Amancaya 2017 . Philippe explained the meaning of the Amancaya flower (a flower found at high altitudes in the Andes in the Mendoza area) on the label – the tradition in Argentina is that a man presents an Amancaya flower to a woman when he proposes to her and she will most certainly say “Yes!” It is known as “the romantic flower” and when you give your love this flower means you are giving them your heart. One of the participants in the tasting said that he heard that one young man could not find an Amancaya flower, so he gave his girlfriend a bottle of Amancaya wine when he proposed to her.
Amancaya presents a harmonious balance between the Argentine and Bordeaux styles. The wine is more fruity due to the higher percentage of Malbec and shorter ageing. Philippe recommended goat roasted over a spit-fire as a pairing (goat is popular in Argentina), but realizing that we may not have a spit fire, or a goat for that matter, in certain parts of the United States, he offered grilled lamb chops with herbs as an alternative. He said that the greasiness of the meat pairs well with the acidity in the wine. $20 range.
Aruma 2018. A pure Malbec made from a blend of grapes from the best terroirs in the Mendoza region. “ARUMA” means “night” in the language of the Quechua, the native Indian population of the Mendoza region. The name suggests the deep darkness of the nights in the Andes and the very pure mountain air: the wines have the same rich, authentic character as their terroir. Deep ruby color. Philippe recommends serving Aruma with “Lomo” a sirloin cut of meat found in Argentina. Here in the states we will enjoy it with a big juicy hamburger with tomato, ketchup and pickles. He added, “It pairs great with friends!” Notes of cherries, raspberry and balsamic. He also recommends drinking it at between 55 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit. If the wine is too cool in the glass, you can always warm the wine by holding the glass between your palms. $15
CARO 2017. CARO, from Catena and Rothschild, has a strong Argentine identity, characterized by the Malbec grape (50%), which is given further elegance and complexity through blending with Cabernet Sauvignon(50%) The combination produces a voluptuous, refined wine with a harmonious balance between the wine’s Argentinian identity and its Bordeaux style. Notes of red fruit, coffee and black pepper. Aromas of plums, fruit and spices. Aged for 12 months, 50% of that time is spent in French Oak barrels. Well balanced and elegant. $65
Philippe recommends opening this wine one hour before serving to allow it to breathe, pour it in the glass and give it 10 minutes before serving. He explains, “This is a wine that rewards patience.” CARO has good aging potential. “We are still learning about the aging potential of our wines. We believe that the best Argentian wines are to come! Our oldest vintage is 2000 and our 2005 and 2007 vintages are still vivid and alive.” We asked about food parings with CARO and he recommended a good dry-aged rib-eye steak, “Argentina has some of the best beef in the world.”
Perhaps the best part of this tasting is knowing that Argentina and these wonderful wines will be there waiting for us when we return to traveling…soon we hope!
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