STORY: She came for the tango ...and stayed for the wine ...
We met at one of the many milongas (public tango parties) that take place in Mendoza during the Tango por los Caminos del Vino (Tango Festival on the Wine Route), which takes place every September (the beginning of spring in the southern hemisphere). The Festival showcases the passion of tango music and dance, set amidst the unique scenery of Mendoza wine country – beautiful high desert, blooming with the snow melt irrigation, the Andes mountains as a backdrop. And of course, there are those wonderful Mendoza Malbecs to enjoy during a break in the dancing. For special friends and partners, maybe a luscious Malbec reserve, as sensual and seductive as the tango itself . A good Malbec Reserva, like this Juana de Sol Malbec Reserva, is possibly the best of all Argentine red wines.
Ah, the Argentine tango – it’s a sensual dance, seductive in its complexity. In 1916, American modern dancer Isadora Duncan visited Argentina, and after being introduced to tango, said: "I had never danced Tango…. My first steps were timid, but the feeling of the languid music caused my body to respond to the voluptuousness of the dance. Soft as a caress, torrid as love under the midday sun, dangerous as a tropical forest".
It is a dance not performed from the feet, the hips or the arms but from the heart and soul. In this intimate form of communication, our individual movements become our words. Each time we dance together, we speak to each other’s hearts and souls through movement. There is no thinking in Tango, only feeling.
In Tango, it is the man’s duty to begin to talk with his body and for the woman, with her body, to know how to respond. And so the mind grows silent and instincts take over, until the dance becomes sensual, and you discover that what you’ve learned is just a forgotten primordial language.
Was it the tango that seduced her and ultimately won her heart, or was it that silky Juana de Sol Malbec Reserva? Who can tell in these affairs of the heart? I only know we were still together in Mendoza for the annual Fiesta Nacional de la Vendemia (National Grape Harvest Festival) in March, still dancing Tango, and sharing Juana de Sol Malbec Reserva with each other and our special friends.
DESCRIPTION: Fincas de la Juanita, in the beautiful high desert north of Mendoza, produces some of the best Malbec in Argentina. The vines flourish in the sandy soil, warmed by the desert sun, irrigated by the pure water that comes from the snow of the Andes Mountains, rising to the West. The vines are carefully tended by hand, and the grapes are hand-harvested. Only the best grapes are selected for this luscious Juana de Sol Malbec Reserva.
The wine is aged for 6 months in French oak, imparting softness and subtle vanilla overtones. It can be enjoyed 2 years after harvest, and has the potential age well, getting more complex and seductive, for another 5 to 6 years.
As with any fine red wine, Juana de Sol Malbec Reserva should be served at a temperature of 65 to 68 and opened and oxygenated for at least an hour to release its full sensual flavor.
Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate, rated the 2010 Juana de Sol Malbec Reserva “90 points” and described it as a “pleasure-bent Malbec” and “an outstanding value”.
TASTE: Elegant and approachable, this wine is as sensuous as the Argentine Tango. It is a true delight to the senses. Pour it slowly into a large tulip glass - it is a glass-coating opaque deep purple color. Swirl, and bring it to your nose, and enjoy the alluring bouquet of cedar, Asian spices, red licorice, and black cherry, hints of chocolate and vanilla. Savor the taste – velvety, silky… dark fruits, spice and smoke, chocolate and mocha… well-rounded tannins with a smooth finish from the oak aging. Juana de Sol Reserva is the perfect balance of flavors and textures.
FOOD MATCHING: Juana de Sol is a very special Malbec, as its “Reserva” designation indicates. It pairs so well with so many foods, we could fill a page with suggestions… Here are just a few, selected for special occasions with friends, or perhaps your tango partner. Start with seared foie gras with wild mushrooms. The spicy and smoky notes of the Malbec make it a perfect complement to meats cooked over a wood fire – the best steak, or a roast sizzling on a spit, or luscious tender grilled lamb chops, perhaps with a raspberry balsamic glaze, or for something different, duck with a pomegranate reduction glaze and figs. We’d serve this with truffled mashed potatoes for a truly decadent meal, and perhaps a salad or a side of haricots verts or simple grilled vegetables.