South American Wine Tasting At FTU

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Jeanne & I attended Frequent Traveler University this weekend in Tysons Corner, VA and we wanted to share some of my latest wine finds with a few friends. Now that they’ve been evaluated, we can share them with you 🙂

Since my winetasting trip to Mendoza last year I’ve been proactively trying to bring my average bottle price point down by finding equally enjoyable inexpensive bottles. I’ve been pretty successful as I now average $10 a bottle instead of $30.

For this tasting I picked up most of my wines at Total Wine, going for labels with wide distribution to make it easier for folks to find. I did, however, get a little too excited in my selections and we wound up with 10 bottles instead of  the 4-6 I’d planned. Here’s what we tried, favorites in bold:

2012 Mendoza Station Torrontes $6 (Argentina)
Flichman Rose Misterio $8 (Argentina)
2012 Maipe Malbec-Rose $10 (Argentina)
2011 Evodia Clatayud Garnacha $7 (Spain)
2011 Finca Roja Malbec $10 (Argentina)
2011 Achaval Ferrer Malbec Mendoza $20-$30 (Argentina)
2011 Maipe Bonarda $10 (Argentina)
Santiago Station Carmenere $5 (Chile)
2011 Anakena Carmenere $10 (Chile)
NV Flichman Extra Brut Sparkling $12-$17 (Argentina)

All of them were good, some better than others. I’ll spare you detailed notes and just hit some of the highlights.

Torrontes are known as “the liar” because it typically smells sweet but tastes like a Sav Blanc. The one I picked blindly didn’t smell sweet, it smelled like it tasted, which was great! Especially at $6.

Malbec Rose is one of the most incredible reds I’ve discovered. All the beautiful flavor of red, all the light approachableness of whites.

The Evodia is not a South American wine, but is one of my current favorites. We discovered something interesting in this round though. It tastes significantly better when it’s first opened than it does 6 hours after opening. It still tastes good, but the tannins really come out the longer it sits.

Bonarda used to be one of the most common grapes in Mendoza, but with the rising popularity of Malbec, the focus and new plantings have shifted.

Carmenere can pack all the taste of a nice cab, but is much cheaper, a little more peppery, and lacks the strong tannin finish. Surprisingly, the $5 bottle tasted better than the $10.

The sparkling is a combination of Malbec and Chardonnay. Flavorful, pink, sparkly. Need I say more?

We hope to do more of these in the future, but currently are constrained by the limitations of our budget and hotel room size. If you’re interested in joining us, stay tuned (and follow us on Twitter) as we explore various options!


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.


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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel


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