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A medium-bodied Malbec, the 1999 Villa Mendoza exhibits a pretty garnet robe and a generous nose full of the scents of black cherry, plum, pepper, and toasty oak. In the mouth, the Villa Mendoza Malbec offers concentrated warm flavors, minus the boatload of tannin that marks most young Malbec wines. Happily, cedar, plum, and spice caress the palate with rich, huggable flavors, but no hard edges. Smooth, round, and beguiling to the end, the Villa Mendoza Malbec finishes with real panache rather than mere power. Enjoy this lovely, very drinkable Malbec straight away or even more after twenty or thirty minutes of airing.
Delicious with pasta, grilled meats and even full-flavored cheeses, the 1999 Villa Mendoza is ready to please on a moments notice. At a recent meeting of the C & H tasting panel, the 1999 Villa Mendoza Malbec was voted the group's favorite pasta wine. It was served with a delicious, San Marzano based tomato marinara, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, thick, crusty semolina bread, and a huge heart-healthy salad. So successful was the pairing that some very expensive, less than spectacular Italian wines paled tremendously in comparison. We also suggest steak, lamb chops, barbecue, and even chicken with the 1999 Villa Mendoza. Its full flavor and easygoing charm make for an enjoyable and versatile accompaniment to a variety of foods. Salute.
Villa Mendoza is produced by Laurel Glen, an exemplary Sonoma County winery known for its premium California offerings. Grown in the province of Mendoza in the far west of Argentina, the vineyards of Villa Mendoza are some of the highest in the world. Here, the east facing flanks of the Andes cut a broad swath from the city of Mendoza to La Consulta, some 80 miles to the south. It is on this high ground at the base of the snow- peaked Andes and Mt. Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, that the Malbec for Villa Mendoza grows - the product of an antique vineyard planted in the 1800's. The growing conditions for the Villa Mendoza Malbec are close to viticultural nirvana. The air is dry and unpolluted, so mildew and other fungal diseases are rare. Consequently, costly spraying is unnecessary. The days are warm and the nights are cool during the long, temperate growing season, and the soil a mixture of sandy loam and alluvial stones, is perfect for the ripening of the dark-skinned Malbec grape. And, although the climate is quite arid, the melting snow of the Andean snow peak keeps this part of the Mendoza green and watered. The 1999 vintage was an ideal one in Mendoza, producing a very special Malbec for Villa Mendoza. The grapes for this wine were harvested in perfect condition, fermented in broad tanks for maximum contact with the skins, and then barrel aged in French and American oak barrels for over a year. The result is the essence of Argentine Malbec: a spicy, exotic, deeply fruited wine with structure and verve. Yum!
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