2005 Amaicha Torrontes

Price: $1.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Goldschmidt Vineyards

What They Said:

Per quaffability “This is an odd wine that I found while searching in vain for an Argentinean Malbec suggested by a reader. I confess that I had never heard of the Torrontes varietal before tasting this wine, and, having knocked around the web looking for info for a few minutes, I think I know even less now then I did before. It’s either originally from Mavasia or native to Argentina. It might be a common Spanish varietal, or it might be a cross between the native American Mission grape and a variety of Muscat. Hmm… what’s a good synonym for “whatever”?

The nose offers very fruity flowery notes with lemon, lychee and grapefruit. In the mouth it’s also quite fruity, but with a suprising element of petroleum, turning quite dry on the lean finish.

This wine reminds me that tasting impressions can really vary by circumstance. Sampled before dinner one night, my wife and I both said “okay… interesting” but moved on to other things without any thought of grabbing the bottle for a refill. Too fruity, not quite appealing, and a little odd tasting. But a few nights later, after my wife had made the mistake of telling the guy at the Chinese take-out place that our food wasn’t spicy enough last time, the wine went down awfully good with a blistering order of chicken in garlic sauce.”

What I Think:

As mentioned with my initial Bonarda posting I remember these showing up at TJ’s sometime last year. At the time I grabbed one of each, this and the Bonarda. After having them both I ran to the store to find more of the red to no avail and put this one on my “do not drink” list as I can still recall it tasted almost like nothing.

Redux, once again I find them both but pass on the white. Then being overly impressed with the red I overcome my predisposition to ignoring the white. Sometime later with taco salad on the table this wine finds itself on our table. On the nose you get..nothing; no fruit, just barrel. This wine is very light leading me to think the alcohol percentage must be low. There is hints of citrus but mostly wood with grassy undertones. As there is no fruit there is certainly no sweetness. Makes me think outside the “wine” box. I pomder European type schnapps before settling on Vodka as there is little flavor here.

In my industry we always talk about the “aspirational” you. I can see where this wine is trying to go, it just never gets there. Given that it is $2 though it is worth a try, as long as this isn’t your only impression of Torrontes. Give this Zolo a try. While your at it find some Vinho Verde as well.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2005 Amaicha Bonarda

Price: $1.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Goldschmidt Vineyards

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer from October of 2006; “Amaicha wines are named after a small village in the northern Argentinean province of Tucuman. “The indigenous people of this town have a special reverence for what they call Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and they celebrate their admiration for the earth’s goodness with both festivals and a way of life that respects the elements around them – Earth, Moon, Sun & Water. That respect extends to the cultivation of the grapes that are used to create Amaicha wines.”

Amaicha Bonarda “is a red wine that originates in Italy, but is actually the most widely grown grape in Argentina. It produces a lush, medium-bodied wine with ripe plum and blackberry flavors. This one’s terrific for cocktails and equally appropriate for serving with pasta or even meatloaf.”

What I Think:

Ah, the perfect use for this Bonarda. This is the wine to choose with pasta on the menu. As that was my intention this evening I did just that. Many people tend to say if you wouldn’t drink it don’t cook with it. While I tend to agree with that my $20 bottle of wine isn’t going in the sauce. With this around it is possible to make purists and my wallet happy. And if you don’t happen to have that $20 bottle around this will serve quite well as the primary wine to accompany the dish…

Rating: Buy It

2005 Amaicha Bonarda

Price: $1.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Goldschmidt Vineyards

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer from October of 2006; “Amaicha wines are named after a small village in the northern Argentinean province of Tucuman. “The indigenous people of this town have a special reverence for what they call Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and they celebrate their admiration for the earth’s goodness with both festivals and a way of life that respects the elements around them – Earth, Moon, Sun & Water. That respect extends to the cultivation of the grapes that are used to create Amaicha wines.”

Amaicha Bonarda “is a red wine that originates in Italy, but is actually the most widely grown grape in Argentina. It produces a lush, medium-bodied wine with ripe plum and blackberry flavors. This one’s terrific for cocktails and equally appropriate for serving with pasta or even meatloaf.”

What I Think:

We had some friends over some nights ago to baby-sit. These friends are perhaps some of my only regular readers of this blog. My wife made them some dinner and I left them a range of bottles to select from including this, my other TJ’s favorite the 2005 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere and another option that I used to make sure I didn’t look like a cheapskate. He chose the Bonarda. I can tell you that he seemed quite happy with his choice that evening and I tried to entice him to provide some guest commentary which I have yet to receive. Should that make it my way I will be sure to update here.

Bottom line, a $2 bottle of wine you can serve to babysitters. What else could the rating be?

Rating: Bulk Buy

2005 Amaicha Bonarda

Price: $1.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Goldschmidt Vineyards

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer from October of 2006; “Amaicha wines are named after a small village in the northern Argentinean province of Tucuman. “The indigenous people of this town have a special reverence for what they call Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and they celebrate their admiration for the earth’s goodness with both festivals and a way of life that respects the elements around them – Earth, Moon, Sun & Water. That respect extends to the cultivation of the grapes that are used to create Amaicha wines.”

Amaicha Bonarda “is a red wine that originates in Italy, but is actually the most widely grown grape in Argentina. It produces a lush, medium-bodied wine with ripe plum and blackberry flavors. This one’s terrific for cocktails and equally appropriate for serving with pasta or even meatloaf.”

What I Think:

This Bonarda is the current mainstay in our house. So with Mac & Cheese on the stove I grabbed a bottle. I honestly don’t remember all that much about it which at this price point, $1.99, I tend to think of as a good thing…

Rating: Buy It

2005 Amaicha Bonarda

Price: $1.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Goldschmidt Vineyards

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer from October of 2006; “Amaicha wines are named after a small village in the northern Argentinean province of Tucuman. “The indigenous people of this town have a special reverence for what they call Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and they celebrate their admiration for the earth’s goodness with both festivals and a way of life that respects the elements around them – Earth, Moon, Sun & Water. That respect extends to the cultivation of the grapes that are used to create Amaicha wines.”

Amaicha Bonarda “is a red wine that originates in Italy, but is actually the most widely grown grape in Argentina. It produces a lush, medium-bodied wine with ripe plum and blackberry flavors. This one’s terrific for cocktails and equally appropriate for serving with pasta or even meatloaf.”

What I Think:

I have been watching a lot of the Tour de France lately and by some strange way came to think of this wine in regards to the cyclist that compete there day in and day out. Given that this was the 4th of the 26th bottles of this is Bonarda I have on hand you could view each as a stage. Some days you will certainly be on top form and others you may not be quite as up to the task.

For those that remember my last encounter with this wine was the first time this wine showed what the cyclist would refer to as a crack in the armor (or armour depending on my audience). With bolognese on the menu it was time to give this wine another try. Well tonight this bottle was “back on form” in tour talk. I’ll stop there with the analogies as my wife always told me that I haven’t been any good with them anyway. It starts with light, lively aromas with wooden overtone omnipresent and the fruit slowly comes forward. It is almost as if you slowly lowered your head right into the barrel. The palate doesn’t match, when I say that I mainly mean in the context of light. On the tongue you are immediately greeted with barrel flavors but the fruit quickly establishes itself at the front of your palate leading to a balance, toasty, spicy finish. The thing that struck me tonight was that this wine is certainly more manufactured in the winery than I previously allowed myself to believe. At $2 of course I was in denial but I was happy there!

Rating: Bulk Buy

2005 Amaicha Bonarda

Price: $1.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Goldschmidt Vineyards

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer “Amaicha wines are named after a small village in the northern Argentinean province of Tucuman. “The indigenous people of this town have a special reverence for what they call Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and they celebrate their admiration for the earth’s goodness with both festivals and a way of life that respects the elements around them – Earth, Moon, Sun & Water. That respect extends to the cultivation of the grapes that are used to create Amaicha wines.”

Amaicha Bonarda “is a red wine that originates in Italy, but is actually the most widely grown grape in Argentina. It produces a lush, medium-bodied wine with ripe plum and blackberry flavors. This one’s terrific for cocktails and equally appropriate for serving with pasta or even meatloaf.”

What I Think:

As many of you know this Bonarda has been generating a lot of excitement in my house as its campaign for “Value Wine of the Year” rolls on. So though I didn’t mention it when discussing the Gewurzt when I came home from sushi last Saturday I had a hankering for a glass of wine before bed. As I already had the white chilling for dinner tomorrow I popped that one open and quickly determined it wasn’t what I was after. So I turned to old faithful. It is amazing the different experiences you can have with the same exact bottle of wine based on surroundings, company, food, and other variables. This was the first time this wine left something to be desired. So I started thinking what was different. The closest I could identify it must be related to not cleansing the palate before sipping this one. I had it without food in the same types of situations and had always been pleased so as far as I could tell that was the only new wrinkle. So Bonarda lesson #1, “Always cleanse palate before switching to this wine.” A few days later when I got back to this wine it was as I remembered it. Light fruit on the nose with a more brooding demeanor on the palate before giving way to a pleasing finish.

 Still yet, though brief, that minor unpleasant episode has inflicted enough damage that I have temporarily, or at least I hope, revoked the “Bulk Buy” rating. On a side note, I am not sure how I intend to continue handling this wine. As I have two cases and intend to be drinking it regularly over the next few months not sure that I am going to post them all and if I do it will be brief. Perhaps I can try to infuse those posting with comparison to other wines I am drinking around the same time. Keep your eyes open as there is certainly more to come. Can this wine reclaim the glory of yesteryear? Try not to let the suspense keep you up a night…

Rating: Buy It

2005 Amaicha Bonarda

Price: $1.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Goldschmidt Vineyards

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer “Amaicha wines are named after a small village in the northern Argentinean province of Tucuman. “The indigenous people of this town have a special reverence for what they call Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and they celebrate their admiration for the earth’s goodness with both festivals and a way of life that respects the elements around them – Earth, Moon, Sun & Water. That respect extends to the cultivation of the grapes that are used to create Amaicha wines.”

Amaicha Bonarda “is a red wine that originates in Italy, but is actually the most widely grown grape in Argentina. It produces a lush, medium-bodied wine with ripe plum and blackberry flavors. This one’s terrific for cocktails and equally appropriate for serving with pasta or even meatloaf.”

What I Think:

To celebrate the fact that we picked up a case of this wine I decided to open one up and try it out on some friends. I had a bottle last week and was impressed so I was anxious to see what others thought. It was a unanimous success! I enjoyed this bottle as much as the last. Looks like if I really want another case I may be racing my friends to the store.

Rating: Bulk Buy

2005 Amaicha Bonarda

Price: $1.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Goldschmidt Vineyards

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer “Amaicha wines are named after a small village in the northern Argentinean province of Tucuman. “The indigenous people of this town have a special reverence for what they call Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and they celebrate their admiration for the earth’s goodness with both festivals and a way of life that respects the elements around them – Earth, Moon, Sun & Water. That respect extends to the cultivation of the grapes that are used to create Amaicha wines.”

Amaicha Bonarda “is a red wine that originates in Italy, but is actually the most widely grown grape in Argentina. It produces a lush, medium-bodied wine with ripe plum and blackberry flavors. This one’s terrific for cocktails and equally appropriate for serving with pasta or even meatloaf.”

What I Think:

This wine showed up at Trader Joe’s sometime later in the year in 2006, in my pre-blogging days. As I had a few bottles of this when visiting Argentina earlier in the year I grabbed a bottle. I must have let it sit for a while but when I got around to opening it I was extremely impressed. Upon returning to TJ’s and finding it out of stock it appears others were as well. So when heading out shopping to get some more Rocking Horse the other day I turn the corner and low and behold, what do I see? This wine is back on the shelves, not sure if it is the same vintage or not, and grab two bottles. At this price you can always cook with it if need be.

Before we get to the tasting notes I did some investigation on this bottle. First off the grape, it hails from northeastern Italy’s Piedmont region and has a Croatian lineage. It is most similar to Barbera and is the most widely planted grape in Argentina. It is known for making wines that are generally light, fruity, and immediately drinkable. Another note on this bottle is that it says that a portion of the profits are used to build schools in the region where this wine is grown. I couldn’t afford to hire a private detective but after growing the grapes, harvesting them, making the wine, bottling it and then shipping it to the states how much of my $2 can be left as profits?

I didn’t want to make the same mistake as last time so as soon as I got home I popped the cork. And I was not disappointed. On the nose there is a nice mix of fruit and barrel aromas. On the tongue it starts with light fruit over a drier backbone. As it moves to the mid-palate the dark fruits, brambly berries, come to the front before finishing with a light coat of tannins. A bit on the lighter side this is an excellent quaffer and perfect for any red wine foods! For $2 this is a steal. I’ll be right back; I’m going to get a case.

Rating: Bulk Buy