Last year we reported on our tasting of some terrific wines from Argentina being imported by a new U.S importer, Brazos Wine Imports. Established in 2008 by two former wine distributors–Jonathan Chaplin (also, a sommelier) and Brian Ravitsky, Brazos Wine Imports is rapidly becoming a source of high quality premium wines at rock bottom prices. We recently tasted wines Brazos brings in from three wineries–Prisma from the Casablanca Valley in Chile and Bodega RJ Viñedos and Familia Bonfanti in Mendoza, Argentina.
Brazos plans to have the Prisma wines stateside in June. The wines are all estate grown from Casablanca Valley, an outstanding region for both Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. We also re-tasted new vintages of the Reunion wines produced by a talented family-owned winery, Bodega RJ Viñedos, which has vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley in Mendoza. And we tasted a new vintage of the superb Malbec of the Familia Bonfanti, an outstanding boutique winery located in the Perdriel sub-region of Lujan de Cuyo. The Familia Bonfanti owns two small vineyards and has a state of the art winery completed in 2005. Their new 2010 Malbec is outstanding and offers great value.
Prisma 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley ($15) 89 This 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca Valley offers aromas of bright lemon citrus on the nose. It is crisp on the palate with good acidity, freshness and clean concentrated flavors. A delicious wine produced by Brazos in collaboration with Fray Leon (Grupo Belen) from multiple vineyards, including some originally planted by the outstanding producer Pablo Morande in the early 1980s.
Prisma 2011 Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley ($15) 90 The 2011 Prisma Pinot Noir displays a ruby garnet color and aromas of dark cherry and plum. Aged 10 months in used oak and nine months in the bottle, it exhibits excellent acidity and freshness and good cola-like flavors on the mid-palate and finish. It’s hard to find Pinot Noir this good for the price. Brazos also produces this wine in collaboration with Fray Leon (Grupo Belen).
RJ Vinedos 2012 Reunion Torrontes Salta ($14) 89 The 2012 Torrontes displays a perfumed nose of white flowers, stone fruit and light minerals Fermented in stainless steel, the palate reveals freshness with good tropical fruit flavors, crisp acidity and a lingering finish. This lovely wine is sourced from sustainably-farmed estate vineyards in Calchaquies Valley in Cafayate, Salta.
RJ Vinedos 2011 Reunon Bonarda Mendoza ($14) 88 The Bonarda is pleasant tasting although not as ripe and juicy as Bonarda can be. This one is a bit earthy and plumy with hints of spice. Partly aged for three months in oak, it reveals high acidity and a crisp finish. The wine is sourced from estate vineyards in Alto Agrelo in Lujan de Cuyo,
RJ Vinedos 2012 Malbec Mendoza ($14) 90 This is an excellent Malbec for the price. Sourced from a single vineyard in the Los Sauces region of the Uco Valley, it reveals a dark ruby color with savory aromas of plum, roasted meat and cocoa powder. It is soft and round on the palate with good fruit concentration, excellent structure and a long finish.
RJ Vinedos 2012 Tinto Mendoza ($14) 90+ The 2012 Tinto is a blend of 57% Malbec and 43% Bonarda. The grapes are sourced from two vineyards, one in the Los Sauces District of Tunuyan in the Valle de Uco and the other from Alto Agrelo. The wine offers rich and spicy plum and cherry fruit aromas and flavors with hints of chocolate. It has a silky texture, excellent acidity and perfect balance.
Familia Bonfanti 2010 Familia Bonfanti Mendoza ($20) 92 The 2010 Familia Bonfanti Malbec is sourced from a single vineyard planted in 1915 in the region of Perdriel in the Lujan de Cuyo sub-region of Mendoza. It displays a lovely dark ruby color and aromas of dark berry fruit. Aged 12 months in used French oak, it is soft and elegant on the palate with concentrated plum fruit. It is beautifully balanced with soft round tannins and a fruit-rich finish.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler