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Argentine wine benefits from French know-how

Northside Staff Tasters: Dana Malley, ed., Jason Wentworth, Dave Pohl, Mickey Ireland, Alice Peters, and Jon Wentworth

A few weeks ago, June 1 to be exact, the staff at Northside Wine & Spirits conducted a blind tasting of no fewer than 23 Malbecs, all but one from Argentina’s Mendoza region and all under $20. The tasters came away feeling that the category on the whole was quite consistent, which only reinforces the notion that the Malbec grape responds well to Mendoza’s arid, sunshiny autumns.

Brothers Lurton, Jacques and François, undoubtedly had some inkling of this when they began producing and marketing Argentine wines in 1992.

Sons of André Lurton, a man well known and respected in France’s Bordeaux region—he’s the proprietor of such estates as Château La Louvière (Pessac-Léognan) and Château Bonnet (Entre-Deux-Mers)—the two brothers established Jacques and François Lurton S.A. in 1988. Not only has the company planted over 300 acres of vines in Argentina but, aided by its own team of oenologists, it also now produces wine in six countries!

Back to the tasting. The deeply colored $11 2003 Bodega Lurton “Reserva” Malbeca (Mendoza), a dry red wine aged nine months in small oak barrels, came away with the highest mean score. Spicy and hedonistic, it offers up a blast of raspberry and cherry on the attack (the initial impression in the mouth), and then clamps down with chewy tannins, which enhance a long finish.

Grilling steaks tonight? Here’s your wine!

“Top Wine Picks” as seen in The Ithaca Journal 6-27-05

Northside Wine & Spirits is located at the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Elmira Road.

Phone 607-273-7500.

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