The Mascota Vineyards are located in Argentina’s Mendoza Province, at the foot of the Andes Mountains. This is known as the “Primera Zona” and is generally regarded as the country’s top wine-producing region.
The La Mascota Chardonnay 2013 is a gorgeous golden color, with a bright floral aroma. It’s light-to-medium-bodied and somewhat creamy in the mouth, with just a touch of minerals and medium acidity.
The flavor is slightly sweet, very pleasant, with apple and honey. It dries up enough on the mildly tart finish to be crisp and refreshing.
This wine would go well with the usual Chardonnay suspects, including chicken, seafood, and light pasta dishes.
Torrontés is not a wine varietal that a lot of people know, but they should. Grown exclusively in Argentina, this hybrid of muscat and criolla (aka mission) makes a floral and delicious white wine that I love drinking in summer. (And, to be honest, the rest of the year as well.)
The better Torrontés wines I’ve tried are aromatic and fruity (especially tropical fruits) with a nice amount of crisp acidity. They tend to be dry, but can range from light to more medium-bodied. It works very well as an aperitif, but also goes with a wide variety of foods, including spicy stuff and beef (it is from Argentina, after all).
The Terrazas de los Andes winery is located at the foot of the Andes mountains in the Salta region, where many of the best Torrontés wines come from. The grapes themselves are grown at altitude, over a mile high in the Andes. (Does that make a difference? Who knows! But it sounds cool.)
The 2012 Reserva Torrontés has an intense floral aroma and just explodes with tropical fruit and citrus flavors on the palate. I tasted a lot of delicious passion fruit, with just a little spice. It has enough acidity that it’s definitely not sweet, but it’s still bursting with fruit flavor.
I could drink this all day long. A very pleasing and tasty wine that I’d happily serve to guests, especially those who are bored with Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. Drink it while it’s young and fresh.
Although my primary interest is in cocktails and spirits, I do enjoy a glass of wine on occasion as well. Particularly with food, as I don’t generally drink cocktails with a meal other than perhaps a Margarita.
Like most wine drinkers, I’m always on the lookout for something that tastes good, but doesn’t cost a fortune. So I often scour the shelves at places like Trader Joe’s looking for interesting bottles. That’s where I found this one.
The 2012 Jacques Bourguignon Chablis is a white burgundy from the Chablis region of France. It is the color of pale straw with a light floral and fruity nose. This is an unoaked Chardonnay, so there is none of the wood presence that turns people off to many California Chardonnays.
The flavor is light and crisp, with apples and citrus, and a mildly acidic tanginess. You’ll note that I keep saying “light,” which it is, but it’s certainly not lacking in flavor.
This Chablis is quite refreshing and would go nicely with foods with delicate flavors, such as seafood or simple pastas. Or it would pair well with a cheese or fruit plate.
The Jacques Bourguignon Chablis is a simple, but tasty wine, well-made, and a bargain at the price.
Great news from the rum blenders at Cognac Ferrand — they're making a new white rum.
The spirit masters at Cognac Ferrand, producers of the award-winning Plantation Rum portfolio, have their own special twist on rums: cherry picking the very best aged rums from around the Caribbean and Latin America and bringing them to Cognac to be refined for a second aging in their own Cognac barrels, a technique only performed by Ferrand.
Now, for the first time ever, Plantation Rum introduces its first white rum - Plantation 3 Stars, named in honor of the three rum-producing stars of the Caribbean from which Plantation 3 Stars is crafted: Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica. Launching across the country beginning this September, Plantation 3 Stars (41.2% ABV) will retail for approximately $24.99 for a 1 liter bottle.
Almost every rum company offers a white rum. But Cognac Ferrand proprietor Alexandre Gabriel wanted to make one that stood out from the rest using aged and un-aged rums and the company’s exceptional Cognac blending skills.
Gabriel says “Most white rums on the market today are either too neutral and too vodka-like or too rough and rustic. We wanted a rum that shows character, elegance, complexity and a great finish – the ideal rum for cocktails. Blending is not a science, it’s an art because you are working with a product of nature. In Cognac, to become a great cellar master and blender it takes 20 years of practice and training. This is the know-how we bring to Plantation 3 Stars.”
For Plantation 3 Stars, Gabriel decided to use a 3-year aged Trinidad rum, carbon filtered to maintain its white color and to remove the heavier tannins while preserving the aromatics developed and refined by aging. Un-aged rums from Barbados and Jamaica are blended, along with a 12 year aged rum from Jamaica. The Jamaican rum is an expensive ingredient but key to the taste of the overall blend. Each rum in the blend brings its own characteristics.
Says Gabriel, “This is the beauty of blending. You can capture the best of each – Trinidad brings elegance and refinement, Barbados brings character and aromatics with fruit notes without being too heavy and Jamaican brings the funk, the touch that makes it a complete product.”
Tweaking the rum was a delicate process. In the end, Gabriel decided on an ABV of 41.2 percent. Says Gabriel, “I was dreaming about this rum and could mentally taste it before it was even made. We wanted character and personality, but didn’t want it to be too heavy because it our goal was to make a balanced and elegant rum exceptional for cocktails," said Gabriel. "We found the perfect balance for Plantation 3 Stars at 41.2% alcohol by volume."
The white rum category is a competitive market cornered by huge corporations. Gabriel notes, “We are a small artisanal spirit producer so from a marketing perspective this product makes no sense. But on the other hand, we felt that we had it in us to create a hell of a white rum and could not resist the creative urge. We really worked long and hard at it and the process was exciting for everyone at Ferrand. We hope Plantation 3 Stars makes people’s taste buds dance! After all, the work we do is for great pleasure – that’s what we’re all about.”
TASTING NOTES: Plantation 3 Stars White Rum
Keenly vibrant and well-balanced, Plantation 3 Stars displays the finesse and style of Trinidad and Barbados well integrated with the character and fuller flavors of Jamaica. On the nose it has delicate notes of tropical fruits intertwined with brown sugar and ripe banana. On the palate it displays subtle spices and floral notes with a finish of sugar cane and vanilla.