Today’s wines are from the cool, sunny, high-elevation vineyards of Salta in Argentina, the mountain vineyards of northern Italy and the Marlborough region on the South Island of New Zealand.
Swiss-based Hess Family Wine Estates, which owns the Hess Collection in Napa Valley, acquired Argentina’s Bodega Colomé in 2001. Founded in 1831, Colomé is one of the oldest working wineries in the country and makes Malbecs that melt in your mouth. Colome’s vineyards are the highest in the world. They range from 7,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level and some are planted on original rootstocks from Bordeaux. Those historic plantings are still producing fruit. Today, Colomé is a leader in sustainable grape growing in South America.
Colomé Malbec Estate Salta, Argentina 2013, $25: The aromatics, lush mouthfeel and dark berry flavors have such intensity they light up every sensory point in your head. Flavors are supported by firm acidity, silky tannins and seamless integration of oak. It spends 15 months in French oak, and six months in bottle. It’s produced off four estate vineyards in Salta. The altitude of the lowest vineyard is 5,740; the tallest is 10,207. How do grapes survive at this elevation? They get more sun, less UV protection and produce thicker-skinned fruit that delivers more taste and fresh acidity.
Alois Lageder 1823 can plant your palate right in the Dolomite Mountains of Alto Adige, Italy’s most northerly growing area. The year 1823 is when the winery was founded and it is run today by the fifth and sixth generations of the Lageder family who put the focus on sustainable growing practices and a state-of-the-art winery that respects, in fact celebrates, the environment. In addition, art and cultural activities are part of everyday life here.
Alois Lageder 1823 Pinot Grigio Dolomiti Alto Adige 2015, $18.99: This Pinot Grigio is the real deal. Other wine regions around the world just can’t duplicate a Grigio like this one — bone-dry, stony minerality, flowery with herbs lingering in the background. It’s crisp and complex — you can thank the cool mountain climate — and the finish is long and persistent. The bottle is closed with a modern screw cap and wears a contemporary label.
Established in 1943, Nobilo is one of those tried and true producers of wine in New Zealand’s Marlborough area. The Sauvignon Blancs express the vibrant fruit and crisp acidity you get in this cool-climate winegrowing area. Nobilo makes two levels of wine: The Reserves, called Icon, which are more pricey, and the more gently priced Regional Collection.
Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand 2015, $22: Intense flavors of tropical fruits and notes of white flowers, herbs, lime and grapefruit put on a show in your mouth. The juicy acidity and minerality add to the wine’s many dimensions. It’s sumptuous and mouth-filling and reflects all the work that goes into making it. Nobilo uses its best grapes from the Castle Cliffs vineyard in the Awatere Valley for Icon. Various vineyard blocks are harvested and fermented separately in small tanks and kept separate until the final blending. You can find the Regional Collection in supermarkets, but chances are you will have to visit a more selective retailer to find the Icon line, which is well worth the time.
You can reach Sandra Silfven at firstname.lastname@example.org.