Graffigna - A Couple of Malbecs

graffContinuing the South American trend that I've been on the last week, I'm going to look at four more Argentine wines. These are from Graffigna, located in the San Juan Valley of Argentina. San Juan is an area, a bit less known than Mendoza, but also producing some fine wines. Graffigna has been around as a producer from more than 100 years. I'll look at two Malbecs today, and two Cabernet Sauvignons later in the week. First up is the 2006 Graffigna Centenario Malbec. This wine is 100% Malbec. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks. Aging was done in a 50/50 split of French and American oak for 12 months, followed by 6 months of bottle aging. The suggested retail price for this offering is $13.

Plum and violet aromas are prominent on the nose of this wine. Ripe berry, along with an undercurrent of espresso are present throughout the palate, along with black pepper. The finish features lots of earth, black tea, bramble and a hint of pencil lead.

This Malbec is medium bodied, with soft, approachable tannins and an easy drinking style. It'll match well with a wide array of foods. For a suggested retail price of $13, this wine offers bang for buck in its category.

The second Malbec from Graffigna is the 2005 Grand Reserve. This selection is also 100% varietal. Fermentation and oak aging are identical to the Centenario. The suggested retail price for this wine is $20.

The Grand Reserve has a huge nose, filled with wild blueberry aromas, and a touch of jasmine. The palate is big, rich, and expansive, featuring cedar notes that intermingle nicely with a solid core of fruit. The lengthy finish brings on sour berry notes, vanilla and a hint of black tea. This wine has a firm, but yielding tannic structure, and nice acidity.

This offering will stand up to hearty, full flavored foods, such as roast leg of lamb, or Pernil. While the suggested retail price is $20, checking wine-searcher reveals it's often available for closer to $17. As with the Centenario, it's a good value in its price category.

Both of these wines from Graffigna are fine examples of Malbec. The Centenario is often available for around $10, and represents an everyday value. The Grand Reserve is smoother, and more complex, with a longer finish. It's certainly a step up and priced accordingly.

Up Next: Two Cabernet Sauvignons from Graffigna

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