Terra Rosa Old Vines Malbec

Being one who is always interested in trying out unusual wine varietals, I was thrilled to come across a bottle of 2004 Terra Rosa Mendoza Old Vines Malbec, as Malbec has been my go-to red wine for much of the past year. I love its rich flavors and mellow aromas, happily sipping a glass by lamplight with a good book or curled up by the fire on a chilly night. I bought it as I am quite the sucker for a new wine experience, even if it with a grape that I consider to be an old friend.

But an old vines anything should give rise to the thought ‘This might not be what you expect.’ I have had old vines zinfandel, and ancient sangiovese wines and both of them are powerhouse tastes that tend to punch you in the jaw while simultaneously knocking your socks off with their abundant flavor. They really taste good, but it’s like seeing a good friend after a very long absence. There’s so much to cover that it can be overwhelming.  If you like a lot of flavor, an old vine wine might be for you. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

That being said, upon opening the Terra Rosa bottle, I got a big whiff of warm spicy, plumy red goodness. What I poured into the glass appeared very dark, deep red and violet with an iridescent edge of auburn and the aroma that lifted to my nose as I swirled grabbed me by the nostrils and threatened to hang on forever. The first sip revealed a mouth puckering acidity, like sucking on a Super Sourball from my youth; my eyes watered slightly and I felt the urge to draw my lips into a resounding smack except that the rich tannins left me so dry I could hardly move. What a taste! Rounding out the flavor was nicely incorporated oak, almost like the quiet hush you would encounter when first walking among a large stand of trees. This wine would be what we would have called in our wine professionals’ course, not a ‘safe’ wine, or better yet, it would be an ideal one to pair with food as it is a hearty and super ripe experience, with tannins that give you an almost mineral aftertaste. I found this to be a perfect sipping wine, just a small amount was all my palate needed for satisfaction; any more than that and I wouldn’t have been able to taste a thing for a week. Definitely a wine meant for a good hearty meal, a warm crackling fire and a group of die-hard wine lovers. Thank goodness it’s Fall!

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