Published on August 4th, 2015 | by Greg0
Bodegas Salentein And Callia: Argentina Lights
Learn about wine for a while and you’ll quickly hear about terroir- the concept behind why the same grapes planted in different places can taste completely dissimilar. From the weather to the soil conditions to the elevation, there are innumerable factors that go into a bottle beyond which varietal is inside. And while grapes can grow many areas around the world, specific ones thrive in specific areas- which is how a classic French grape has become so associated with Argentina. Malbec likes sun, with an end result of full, warm wines.
Take those from the Bodegas Salentein, from the province of Mendoza. We’ve been tasting their Portillo Malbec from 2014, a bright, intense classic reading for pairing with red meats. Malbec does well against steak, but don’t shy away from from sipping while you grab a burger. We haven’t visited the Uco Valley in Tunuyán, but now we want to, as the pictures look beautiful- the perfect place for a vineyard and winery. The Killka that we tried is a year older, from 2013, a little softer and sweeter, with a bit less tannin and a bit more structure- ideal for a pasta dinner with red sauce. If white wines are more your speed, Portillo also makes a sauvignon blanc that we liked- it won’t blow anyone away, but is crisp and easy drinking with some bite at the finish that leaves you wanting more.
The Bodegas Callia is a bit different- a sister winery located in San Juan (Tulum Valley, Caucete) that grows some strong Syrah. The low rainfall and humidity, along with incredible amounts of sunshine (330 days a year), makes for dense results, an interesting take on the fruity and flexible grape also known as Shiraz. We tried two- one that is a fairly straightforward Malbec in the Callia Alta and the other that blends it with 60% Syrah (Callia Bella), both from 2014. The latter was actually our favorite from the set, as it balanced a blackberry nose and a green, ripe freshness while providing a satisfying long finish. Best slightly chilled.
Every wine on this list is very reasonably priced- running from $10 to $15 (the Killka being the most pricey). Inexpensive enough to fit any budget, they will also please most palates.