I’m not the savviest wine shopper. On most occasions, I stand in front of the rows of bottles at my local Whole Foods, World Market or wine shop, engaged in an interior battle about whether I really need it, and if I do need it, what it is that I actually want.
“Am I in the mood for red? White? A little of both?” I’ll ponder while aimlessly wondering around the perimeters of the wine racks. When I finally do narrow it down to a type, I then have to contend with varietal, region and price – not to mention my own paranoia about finishing said bottle before it goes bad.
I’m a wine store aficionado’s worse nightmare – awkward, indecisive, and perhaps worst of all, cheap. I love good wine, but when I’m buying a bottle for myself, I can’t justify spending more than $15. Especially since 50% of the time, I end up throwing nearly half of it out.
That said, I’m always on the look out for unfamiliar wines that will delight my palate without upsetting my bank account, and was thrilled when I received the invitation to attend a special tasting of Face to Face Wine Imports, LLC's Argentinean wines at K&L Wines last Thursday night. The import company, founded by Lloyd Kasman, a former fashion executive, is devoted to selecting good quality wines that are also affordable for the consumer. Their thoughtful portfolio features a good number of bottles that extend far beyond Argentina’s most famous wine export – Malbec, a grape which actually originated in France.
At Thursday night’s tasting, K&L was offering pours of six different wines that offered sippers a good representation of Face to Face’s collection. We started with the 2009 Cuesta del Madero Sauvignon Blanc ($8.99) from the lower foothills of the Andes in Maipú, Mendoza, the most prolific wine region in Argentina. The crisp wine immediately reminded me of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with its bright citrus notes and grassy undertones. It’s an easy drinking wine – one that I can see myself sipping after a long day at work.
The next wine we sampled, the 2009 Aguijon de Abeja Torrontes ($9.99), also from the Mendoza region, is a more assertive white wine. Its bold lime flavor and crisp acidity make it the perfect partner for seafood – particularly ceviche, but I would imagine it would also be spectacular to drink by itself on a hot summer day.
After the two white wines, we moved on to the Malbecs – the 2007 Domiciano de Barrancas Malbec ($9.99), and the 2008 Pannunzio Malbec ($11.99), that are also both from the Mendoza region. While I enjoyed the spice in the former that tasted to me like a light Zinfandel, I loved the richness of the latter. To my palate, it's a more complex wine, and something that I would enjoy with a good burger or steak.
Of the final two wines we tasted – the 2008 Pannunzio Carbernet Sauvignon ($11.99) and the 2008 Vina Las Vertientes Bonarda ($9.99), I preferred the Bonarda. While the Cabernet is a classic, well-balanced representation of the familiar grape, the Bonarda is more interesting on the palate. It’s warm and comforting on the tongue – the type of glass I would cuddle up with on a rainy fall day.
For the price point, the wines that Face to Face are importing from Argentina are impressive and thoughtful selections that are easy to love and easy to drink. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy any of the bottles I sampled last Thursday. And I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to an equally indecisive and awkward wine buying friend.