The Dirt on Desirability

I got to work a bit late tonight and was rushing to get everything ready for a Thursday night crowd. Thursdays are tricky. They can be busy or dismally quiet so I was not entirely sure what to expect.

My oldest son accompanied me to work. I love having him sit and share some wine and conversation and on top of that my girl Brett and her husband showed up as I opened the door.

In my calendar, I had made a note that one of the reps was coming in, but I remembered making the note, mis-typing the initials and thinking that I’d remember who was coming to visit. For the life of me I couldn’t recall, but was extra pleased when Mister Dwayne Bayda walked in with a tall, dark, handsome Argentinian man.

My mood improved yet again! Dwayne had brought Marcos Fernandez, the Chief Winemaker from Dona Paula Wines.

I think everyone has heard of Dona Paula. They are the makers of one of the best selling entry level Malbecs in Alberta. It is good wine but because of it’s ubiquitous nature it sometimes gets ignored.

I can tell you now though that it represents a rich heritage of wine-making skill, passion and expertise that is second to none.

Marcos lead me through an array of wines beginning with a crisp, bright sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. Oh yes. You read that right. With everything a person could want from a solid Sauvignon Blanc, this wine is ever so much more charming as the lush grapefruit notes are complemented by persistent, happy bubbles! It’s not available yet, but look for it in the coming weeks.

Next we tasted the 2013 Estate Malbec full of plummy fruit and notes of black cherry and chocolate. A good deal at around $20 retail and the perfect wine to bring to your next barbecue. +631291

Getting down to business as some of my favorite guests filed in we tasted the Dona Paula Seleccion de Bodega. This wine reflects all the ideals of the winemaker. Produced only in exceptional years and in limited quantities, there is a list of the three vineyards from whence it springs and their altitudes on the label. Using only sustainable practices as always, this dark black ruby gem gave up sensual almost smoky notes of black currant plum and pipe tobacco with rich fruit that really sticks to your ribs. It’s a little pricier, but well worth it. Malbec lovers will be in their glory with this wine (+631291) but it was the next two wines that really turned my head.

The Parcel wines are Malbec from the same vineyards as the Seleccion Bodega. But after three years of experimentation in the vineyard the wine growers have found specific areas in each plot that contain the most calcium carbonate. Vines love calcium carbonate and if you ever get the chance to taste these wines, you will have an awesome demonstration of just what this compound can do.

The 2010 El Alto Parcel is a nearly irridescent black violet colour. It left me speechless. It was incredibley expressive of plush plummy fruit with chocolate  and rich coffee highlights. Silken velvet on the palate it’s a dark sexy wine, long lasting and seriously compelling. It’s going to be in the upper end of most of our budgets, but it’s a rarity and if you ever get the chance to try it; jump on it! (+795542)

Then came the 2010 Alluvia Parcel. It gets its’ name from the alluvian stones coated in calcium carbonate that cover the vineyard. A dark black velvet ruby hue, it offered unctuous black and blueberry fruit with notes of  grilled meat and undertones of pomegranate and menthol. Oh it was big and silky but earthy at the same time and the finish! Long long long. (+84160)

There was just so much going on with this wine. It was a bit like meeting someone for the first time and not having enough time to talk but with the bar filling up and Marcos having a plane to catch I had to put the glass aside to enjoy later.

It made me think though. What makes a wine desirable? Is it the label? The company that makes it? Does it depend on sustainable practices in the vineyard? A handsome sales person perhaps. What exactly draws us to the wines we choose?

For me, it’s the magic. Some wines have it and some wines don’t. And the great thing is, that what is magic for me, may not be magic for you. It’s priceless though and for me, these are some of the most desirable wines I’ve ever met.

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