From Minnesota To Argentina
Above are Piattelli Vineyards‘ owner Jon and Arlene Malinski who are Minnesota natives and lifelong residents who have spent the past 15 years passionate about Argentina’s wine after they found the potential for a winery on vacation in 2000. The original winery was owned in the 1940’s by descendants of the famous Italian Piattelli family. They make wines from vineyards in Mendoza’s Lujan De Cuyo area as well as wines from the North in the Cafayate Valley in beautiful Salta.
2017 Piattelli Malbec Reserve Mendoza
What can I say folks? Even when I was a restaurant sommelier I hardly bought anything especially Malbec from Argentina. I had about 95% from the original home of the grape in Cahors, France and 5% A mixture of Walla Walla, Italy and Argentina. I must preface this that Piattelli is great winery and well respected. I love their Torrontes (Indigenous White Grape) from Salta. Maybe their higher tier wines would have me more enthusiastic but to me on this level, it validates my general consensus about Argentine Malbecs. Their number one customer is USA and they are churning out bottles of Malbec that fits the taste of the majority of American Palates like $70-$80 Napa Valley Cabs. I am certain millions will love this wine for $15.99. I am not one of them. It makes me sad as I used to be such a fan of wines from this area of the world. Very few in the last 5 years for me. For these reasons this will be short and dare I say Sweet?
The wine is 100% Malbec. They age for 8 months in a combination of French And American Oak and then age in the bottle for a year before release. The 2017 has 14% ABV and has 3 grams of Residual Sugar per liter (Not Technically a Bone Dry Wine) Let’s review
Color is a beautifully extracted dark, bright purple in the glass. After 1 hour of aeration the aromas of Oak, French and American, are driving the bus here. Some Smoke but way too much vanilla and coconut with very one dimensional notes of lavender blueberry pie, cherry, hints of cocoa and spice box. On the palate too much sweetness from the front with a too thin mid palate that gives you some more of the nose of black raspberry, blueberry, and cocoa and it skips very quickly to the rear of the tongue with white pepper and baking spices Burnt Sugar and then poof gone. I tried it day two and more of the same. For me, it was a generic $16 Malbec and very non memorable that I can at best score 82 points out of 100. Too much residual sugar. Too much oak presence. Next to none on the mid palate. Not my cup of tea but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the perfect wine for millions of Malbec Lovers.
This is the toughest part of being a Sommelier. I have a lot of respect for the people behind all the wines I review but I have built a career on credibility and my opinions. This may not be your opinion and that is fine. There are millions who swear by so many High Ticket Napa Wines who would think this was a steal for $16. That’s why we all have opinions. It is just that…an opinion. Maybe like many of my followers and myself from drinking Bone Dry, Original Malbecs from where they originated in Cahors in 50BC in the Southwest of France our palates are spoiled from the dark “Black Wine” of France? I will have to try the high tier of this winery and I love love their Torrontes. Either way from this reviewer when it comes to Malbec..I Cry For You Argentina .
Grape-fully yours, Larry
Winemaker Valeria Antolin