It’s official: Argovino launched this week in New York with a party in the tasting room at Union Square Wines. With members of the local Argentine community in attendance, we had a great evening featuring some of the best wines recently added to our site: Clara Benegas Chardonnay 2011 (AV 88), Astica Malbec 2012 (AV 88), Layer Cake Malbec 2011 (AV 90), Benegas Don Tiburcio 2009 (AV 91), and Bodega Chacra Barda Pinot Noir 2011 (AV 89).
We paired the wines with a variety of cheeses and cured meats from Italy and Spain, including a tremendously creamy goat’s cheese bathed in wine from Murcia and some spicy speck from Alto Adige. As Tom Smith of Union Square Wines said, speck and malbec are a fantastic combination – to us, almost as good as a sweet, jammy malbec and dark chocolate.
Among the favorite wines on the night were the two wines from Bodega Benegas, the Clara Benegas chardonnay, which many guests found to be a nice change from California’s heavily oaked versions, and the Don Tiburcio red blend. Both of these wines offer excellent value for money. The pricier Barda pinot noir was also a hit, impressing lots of drinkers with its complex flavors in a varietal not typically associated with Argentina. And the Argentines loved the story behind the Layer Cake malbec, a wine made in California with grapes from the heart of malbec country in Mendoza.
As the night progressed, we were delighted to be joined by Juana Libedinsky of La Nacion (Argentina’s top broadsheet newspaper) and Kendra Forsythe from the Wines of Argentina team in New York. The party culminated in a raffle for a bottle of Vina Alicia Brote Negro Malbec 2007, which usually retails for $80 or more… and is worth every penny. As our 95-point review states, the wine is an incredible achievement for a vintage that was uneven at best across Mendoza. Valeria Iglesias of the Argentine Consulate drew the winning ticket, which belonged to Julio Mariscal of BBVA. Congratulations to Julio and everyone else who made the launch party such a success!