casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

Day 194: Where There’s White Smoke . . .

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la puerta malbecThere’s a Pope!  What a great day to be a Catholic – our Church has a new Shepard to lead the flock!  Or simply put, history was made today.  It’s hard to wrap your arms around a concept like—Pope Francis will be the first ever from the Western Hemisphere.  That he takes a name that has NEVER been taken before.  That he will leave his mark on millions of pilgrims looking for his leadership, guidance, acceptance and spirituality.

No wonder when he stepped out this afternoon (or evening if you happened to be in Rome) it was almost like a ‘deer in the headlights’.  As we now know, he was waiting for the band to finish playing before addressing the crowd.

Clearly, there are challenges before any leader of a massive population.  And, whether you’re leading a great nation or a church of the people, one thing is crucial–the ability to be firm, yet decisive and the desire to be fair but true to your roots and convictions.  It’s a leadership concept lost in society.  Our hope and prayer is that this leader can truly set the example of servant leadership. . .of and for the people.  If his humble roots are any indication, we’re in for a spectacular run.

Okay, our next conversation settled on what wine could we open to celebrate the New Beginning?  Let’s see there’s St. Francis wines. . .their Zinfandels are pretty tasty; or how about Franciscan?  They have a couple of Cabs that have previously knocked our socks off.  Hmmm, the only catch with either of those two options was a trip to actually purchase them.  Not exactly on the radar screen. SO, a scan of the blog wine shelves uncovers one of our latest Twin Liquors’ Dollar Sale purchases.

In honor of the first Pope from the Western Hemisphere, and more significantly, the Country of Argentina, we opened and tasted a 2012 Valle de la Puerta ‘La Puerta Malbec’ from Famatina, Argentina.  At $10 a bottle, it isn’t a wine of the ‘upper crust’ but more in keeping with the humble roots of the new Pontiff.  La Puerta is a very young wine with lots of energy and potential.  There is a load of fruit on the nose and on the palate that really transcends what a good Malbec is all about. . .the fruit and living for today!  This wine took some time to open up, but after about 30 minutes or so, it offered up a terrific bouquet of fruit, floral and earth that, for Malbec lovers, is at the heart of what the grape is all about.  We did some research on earlier vintages of this wine, and found that they are typically rated at or above 85 points and noted for their fruit forward aroma and taste!

Perhaps more significant than the grape is the growing region where the grape is grown! From our friends at wine-searcher.com, “Famatina is a remote wine-producing valley in the La Rioja region of Argentina. Concentrated in a river valley in the foothills of the Andes, Famatina’s vineyards follow the course of the meltwater river closely, as it flows north to south towards the lower-lying lands in the east.  The Famatina valley is surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks of between 3,000 and 9,000 ft (1000 to 3000m). This topography creates a rain shadow, making the valley’s agriculture and viticulture highly dependent on irrigation from local rivers.”  Among some of the most fertile areas of the country for growing grapes, La Rioja (not to be confused with its’ Spanish cousin of the same name) is much smaller than the heavyweight region of Mendoza and despite being the longest-established of Argentina’s wine growing regions, La Rioja produces less than a 1/10th of wine compared to Mendoza.

For us, this wine was a pleasure to try and enjoy.  Very fresh and fruity.  It has an earthy essence to it.  And, the finish is in true Malbec fashion. . .lots of fruit.  As vintages go, there are probably better wines out there, but as prices go, you could enjoy a lot of this wine without breaking the bank!  Since being frugal seems to be an initial part of Pope Francis’s lifestyle, perhaps La Puerta is an ideal wine to not only open and sample tonight, but one to hang onto for the months and years ahead. . .only time will tell.

Please remember to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

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