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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

An Argentine Red for a Mexican Vacation

Alamos Malbec Mendoza 2008

James Laube
Posted: December 16, 2009

My cousin’s husband Michael insisted that Mezzogiorno, a small Italian restaurant in the Mexican village of Bucerias, north of Puerto Vallarta, was as good as any Italian restaurant he’d eaten at. So while vacationing in the area earlier this month, I made a point of checking it out, and the restaurant turned out to be a delight.

Mezzogiorno sits on the water in a romantic if rustic setting, and the food is excellent (especially the lasagna and fresh dorado), providing a nice change of pace from the daily Mexican cuisine built around frijoles, rice, tortillas, lettuce and tomatoes. I didn’t expect much from the wine list, but held out hope (at least for a few choice Italian reds), eager for a break from beer and margaritas.

The list had about 50 wines, with the selection anchored by some nice Argentine reds. I opted for the recently released Alamos Malbec 2008, from the Luján de Cuyo area of Mendoza, for 365 pesos, or about $33; Wine Spectator has reviewed previous vintages of Alamos wines, owned by the Catena family, quite favorably. The Malbec added just the right touch of richness, spice and complexity to give the dinner another dimension. I rated it 90 points, non-blind, and drank another glass the next day for lunch with a slice of leftover lasgana. It held up nicely.

WineSpectator.com members: Get our quick list of Top Values among Argentine reds.

Jim Mason
St. John's —  December 17, 2009 7:47am ET
Seems like every wine gets 90 points these days. There's nothing wrong with an 86 point wine that retails for less than $20 and is great with food, you know.
Greg Jones
Alexandria, Va. USA —  December 17, 2009 3:14pm ET
I'll take a 90 point ALAMOS that retails for 10 bucks over Jim's 86 point-$33 Malbec every time!!!
Lorenzo Erlic
victoria canada —  December 18, 2009 7:55am ET
Oh come on guys, if you could you'd go for the verified goodness rather than go aka Sir Francis Drake nonstop when exploring the wine world. JL, dinner is on in Cancun! RSVP at your convenience amigo; what about Superbowl this year?
David Hoyos
Indianapolis, IN —  March 29, 2010 2:37pm ET
If Mr. Laube is stating that he rated the Alamos Malbec a 90 in this article, then why does your online review give it an 83? I would love an explanation.
James Laube
Napa, CA —  March 29, 2010 2:57pm ET
My note is from a dinner, non blind. The official WS blind tasting review is from another editor at another setting.

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