In Vino Veritas: An Italian Renaissance (in Argentina)
By: Bianca Blanca Rioja, March 9, 2012
BIANCA BLANCA RIOJA - Born to humble grape harvesters in an oak barrel outside of Barcelona, Bianca has traveled the world performing flamenco and sampling the fruits of Bacchus' labor. While no wine is too complicated or indulgent for her, Bianca specializes in big flavor with small price tag. Vino es pasiÃ³n!
Have you noticed that your favorite bottle of malbec has gotten more expensive lately?
Maybe the juicy medium body you’ve come to expect is getting drier and drier. Like with any product, the market rush to satisfy worldwide wine drinkers’ demands pushes up the price. The solution is simply innovation: bonarda is an amazing grape new to Argentina that will give malbec a run for its money.
Just as malbec was once a simple mixing grape in France, bonarda was once an unremarkable element of Italian wines. Now that bonarda is growing in the bright sunshine and elevation of the Andes Mountains, it’s blossoming into the next big product in affordable, quality wine.
Colonia Bonarda 2010 is an excellent example of what a bonarda grape can become in South America. This bright magenta red wine bursts with the fruity flavors of a deep red zinfandel.
Cherries and raspberry tones rush the palate while a medium body rolls softly over the tongue. Figs and plums add dimension and depth without being overly sweet. Although this wine possesses a bright South American zest, it retains its Italian soul. Earthy and dark red skins let the medium body stay lush and smooth.
Never heavy a red wine; bonarda is a great choice for a chilly and wet New England spring night. A simple sipper, the mouth is never left puckering with the Colonia Bonarda, so it doesn’t require a food pairing. However, it is a great wine for white pizza, beet salads, or spicy dishes that compliment the fig jam flavors.
Universally, Argentinean bonarda is a good quality wine, but better yet, it’s extremely affordable. Retailing around $9 to $10 a bottle, this is a great bottle to keep in stock. As its popularity grows, so will the price, so experience the Colonia Bonarda this season unadulterated by market forces.
If you are into red wines with a bit more body and darker earthy notes, you might also try a bonarda grown in Italy. Oltrepo Pavese Bonarda 2010 still has that naturally occurring fruitiness but it’s contrasted with a rich consistency and Italian bravado. Saucy and bright, this is a great wine for lamb chops. Around $13 per bottle, this is still a great value but can be hard to find.