I wanted to drink a supple, generous red with beef short-rib quesadillas. That was our favorite dish at 626 on Rood, a wine bar and restaurant new to my wife and I (but going strong for three years) in Grand Junction, Colo., where we stop overnight en route to and from our summer stay in Aspen. I chose an Australian Shiraz blend but the bottle tasted off, despite its screw-cap closure. Not TCA, it turned out, but heat had lightly cooked the whole case, owner Brenda Wray reported ruefully. At her suggestion, we went for another southern hemisphere option, a Malbec blend from Argentina.
The Bodega Colomé Amalaya Calchaqui Valley 2008 is a blend of primarily Malbec, with Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot and Syrah, from a winery known for its outstanding wines at fair prices. The 6-ounce glass was $14 on the list, a bit pricey perhaps, but the dark, pure fruit, hinting at tea and mineral as the finish persisted, won me over. 90 points, non-blind.
The quesadilla deftly balanced the rich short-rib meat with Bourbon-caramelized shallots and Mexican-style queso fresco in a whole-wheat tortilla. That’s a red wine dish if I ever saw one, and it turned out to be catnip for the Amalaya.
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