Steak and Blockbuster Tintos
Posted: May 4, 2007 11:32am ET
Tuscans need steak; that’s all there is to it. Florentine vintner Lamberto Frescobaldi
was in Los Angeles at the same time I was before heading off for Las Vegas for the Grand Tour
, so I told him we should pick up a rib eye with the bone at one of my favorites in La La, Carlito’s Gardel, the Argentinean restaurant on Melrose. The food is home cooking. No Michelin stars here.
I go there, primarily, to hang with one of the sons of the owners, Max, and talk about wine. He has a vast knowledge of Argentina and always has cool stuff on his well-selected wine list. And I thought Frescobaldi might find it interesting tasting some Argentinean Malbecs
, which are reds that I really like.
Anyway, to make a long story short, Fresco brought a couple of bottles from a tasting he had been doing in town: 2003 Montesodi Chianti Rufina
and 2004 Giramonte
. They both showed as they should, and the latter, which is a blend of Merlot and Sangiovese, was really a rich and powerful wine. It still needs another three to four years of bottle age to mellow. If I am not mistaken, it is being poured at the Grand Tour.
We also ordered someTtintos de Argentina. I had read a lot about the red of the owner of Brunello di Montalcino’s Argiano
. So we ordered a bottle of 2003 Bodegas Noemía de Patagonia Río Negro Valley
. I remember trying the first vintage of this and I was impressed with its bright rich fruit and vibrant structure. Unfortunately, this bottle was not that. It seemed slightly cooked with an oxidized fruit character, like candied fruit. Anyway, we all wrestled with the bottle, including Max, and finally sent it back.
So we opted for 2003 Viña Cobos Malbec Mendoza Marchiori Vineyard
. This was a massive blockbuster of a wine with loads of crushed berries and chocolate on the nose and palate. It was full and very, very concentrated, with loads of soft, caressing tannins. 93 points, non-blind, for me. “What a wine,” said Fresco.
Max also served us a glass of red, blind, that I thought was a Bordeaux blend from Argentina and I was right. It was fresh, refined and subtle. It was a 1999 Bodega y Cavas de Weinert
Cavas de Weinert Gran Vino. Not a blockbuster, but a lovely red. It showed lovely character of lead pencil, currant and fresh mushrooms on the nose and palate. I scored it 90 points.
We were talking about life and wine and wine and life, and we noticed that we were not drinking much of the Cobos. It was just too rich and powerful. The alcohol was 14.9 on the label, but I am sure it was higher. It was too much. The Weinert was light, less flashy, less points but better with the food. “I don’t think you could legally label the Cobos in Italy as wine, because it is over 15 percent,” Fresco said.
I am not sure about that. But sometimes the big point winners in tastings aren’t the best wines for a meal, particularly when they are very young ...