Friday, February 3, 2012

Updated Review: ***+ $ Juan Benegas Estate Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2007 - BEST VALUE

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By way of background: Juan Benegas Estate Malbec is 100% malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina. The 2007 vintage is finished at 13.5% alcohol.

Original Tasting and Review, March, 2010:

In the glass: Benegas Malbec shows as deep maroon and ruddy red in the glass, opaque to within about 3/4 inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this malbec shows a shy nose of sweet black fruit and earth.

On the palate: The first element on the palate is dry, dark fruit.  The fruit is there, but tight still.

And the wrap-up: The finish is where some earthiness gets released along with the fruit.  There is something happening beneath the surface here.

In summary: Overall, a solid, though still unopened experience. Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its hidden power. Powerful best value.

Jay Miller of Wine Advocate awarded 90 points, saying, ""Benegas' 2007 Estate Malbec was aged for 12 months in French oak. Dark ruby-colored, the nose offers up an aromatic array of smoke, spice box, tobacco, and black cherry. Suave and medium-bodied on the palate, it has plenty of ripe, sweet fruit, excellent depth of flavor, and a lengthy, pure finish. Give it 2-3 years of additional cellaring and drink it from 2011 to 2022."

Following a long decant, two days in partially-filled bottle kept cool: Earthy dark still in the nose.  A raspy, deep fruit starts to peek out.  More time is still advisable.

Updated review, almost two years later, now five years from vintage date, January, 2012:  Deep maroon color, still quite opaque, with a hint of brick right at the edge. Shy prunes are still hiding out on the nose, with a bit of purple cream as you swirl more vigorously.  Even, balanced, earthy palate, with deep middle and bright red fruit only at the very edge.   Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Shy nose remains.  Palate moves to deep plums. 

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