A Wine Lover’s Weekly Guide To $10 Wines – A Pinot Grigio Signed Mendoza, Argentina

This week’s inexpensive; potentially bargain wine comes from Mendoza, Argentina’s major wine-producing region. Mendoza boasts an unbelievable 300 days of sunshine per year. Glacial melt waters from the Andes “irrigate” the desert, and the soil is organically poor (just in case you don’t know, that’s fine for wine grapes). Given the large number of Argentines of Italian background, it’s no surprise that the grape is called Pinot Grigio rather than the French-English version, Pinot Gris. The Argento winery was established in 1998. It produces over a dozen wines from popular grapes; several are available at $10 or less in my bailiwick. Today’s companion wine is an Oregon Pinot Gris, at twice the price.

All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price. Wine Reviewed Argento Pinot Grigio 2011 13 % alcohol about $9.50. Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note: Pale straw color; peach and tropical fruit aromas; extra dry palate with medium body and crisp flavors. Serving Suggestion: Creamy pasta dishes, grilled shrimp or as an aperitif.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine offered rather harsh acidity and some apples. It had moderate length and rolled over Japanese rice crackers but a Wasabi pea took away some of its edge. My initial meal centered on an omelet spiced with black pepper, ground garlic, and basil. Harsh acidity still prevailed. When paired with zesty guacamole, this liquid became somewhat rounder but did not offer much fruit. In response to a chocolate mousse this libation offered some apples and now its acidity lightened.

The following meal centered on a boxed Baked Ziti Siciliano. Our Argentine soured, tasting of unripe green apples. Homemade roasted eggplant brimming with garlic managed to tame the Pinot Grigio’s acidity, imparting a tinge of sweetness. When it met the dessert of fresh strawberries, the wine was barely there.

My final meal started with homemade vegetable soup whose ingredients included carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, celery, and zucchini. In response the liquid was all too acidic and rather sweet. In the presence of chicken meat balls its acidity was now balanced. It tasted of lemon and was long. When paired with cubes of sauteed chicken breast, this liquid came out metallic and yet light. The accompanying leeks sauteed in olive oil darkened the wine. Fruit juice candy rendered this drink slightly nutty.

Final verdict. I really have no intention of buying this wine again. I won’t rush to try the producer’s other wines in this price category. Argento does offer a somewhat more expensive Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva that I may try.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine Iwine with good company. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. His Italiian  travel website is http://www.travelitalytravel.com .

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