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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cape Cod Wine Lovers Enjoy A Malbec Flight

Charlie’s Weekly Wine-ings

As the weather cools, I am looking for a hearty wine to serve guest at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast. A recent wine tasting at the Belfry Bistro featured Malbec from Argentina…a hearty wine indeed. Chris, the owner of the Belfry, changed the normal flow of the tasting by presenting the wines in a ‘flight’.

From Wikipedia: "Tasting flight is a term used by wine tasters to describe a selection of wines, usually between three and eight glasses, but sometimes as many as fifty, presented for the purpose of sampling and comparison."

At our tasting, each attendee had a pure white sheet of paper with four circles and the name of each of the Malbecs to be tasted written in one of the circles. We poured all four Malbecs at the same time into the appropriate glass. Immediately, against the white paper, you could see the differences between the wines. This is a great way to compare and contrast the wines. You can observe the variations in color and clarity by holding each glass to the white background and then next to the other wines. In a sequential tasting of four or five wines, your memory of the first wine fades as you move along. I often wish I could go back and re-taste an earlier wine to contrast it with the current one; a flight gives you the perfect opportunity to compare the taste of each wine directly to the other wines.  

The wines compared were: Alta Vista Premium Melbec produced by the Alta Vista Winery near Mendoza; Nandu Melbec from the Portet Family wines near Lujan de Cuyo; the Punta Final Malbec from Bodega Renacer in Perdriel; and the Zuccardi Series A Malbec from the Familia Zuccardi in Santa Rosa.
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All four wines are from Argentina’s famous Mendoza region, acclaimed to produce some of the best Malbec in the world. All four Bodegas (wineries) were within 60 miles of the city of Mendoza. All four wines were of a similar price range. So, one could expect the wines to be very similar in color and flavor profile. You would be wrong if that was your assumption. The wines ranged from ruby red to deep purple and the fruit flavors from light strawberry to dark blackberry and spice. As always, each wine reflected the actual specific soil where the grapes were grown and the fermentation and aging choices of each individual winemaker. I enjoyed the wide variation of style shown by these great Argentina Malbecs. 

To go with the wine, Chef Dan prepared four ‘snacks’ and, like the flight of Malbecs, he presented all four at the same time. Each attendee was given a beautifully prepared individual platter with all four of the tasting snacks. The advantage was that you could compare each of the food offerings with all four of the wines. I went back and fourth enjoying the subtle differences as I mixed the wines and foods.

This flight tasting was a new experience and one I look forward to repeating often. I am on my way to Cellar 55 Wine Merchants to stock up for guest at our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast. Join us at the Inn and we’ll try our wings with a flight of our own.
Happy Wine-ing!


Charlie Preus, the Innkeeper’s Assistant and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

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