Bodega Elena de Mendoza 2010 Red Blend (Argentina)

Poor Anny has lost control of Sean Hong of Walla Walla (free) wine report after they were denied entry to Betz Family Winery’s release party. Last Tuesday, a man with a gay pornstache and Asian fetish was arrested at a north Seattle Rite-Aid for shoplifting a Trojan vibrating condom, lube, mascara, and other transsexual items before Tazing the store’s loss prevention officer. Then on Friday, a man wearing a size-A bra and wig was arrested after being spotted in a women’s bathroom at Everett Community College with a pair of pantyhose (over a ‘sample’ wine bottle) in his front pocket. Other women who were in the same bathroom alerted authorities and easily identified the loser out of a lineup because he was hung like a hamster. In a related story, Seattle city officials have noticed a huge spike in human waste within the downtown core. Since 2007, the number of calls complaining about fecal smells has increased over 130%, with most of those calls originating from the local Hulu office bitching about their wine commission neighbors down the hall. Two employees, Jonathan and Richard, witnessed several wine flacks rounding the hallway corner then returned while rearranging themselves. And finally, this out of Kennewick: women at the local Gold’s Gym involuntarily participated in a study that found several of them reached orgasm while working on core exercises, the so-called “coregasm.” Researchers from Abernethi and Associates monitored the early morning habits of these active women and concluded the coregasms occurred after really exerting themselves on abdominal exercises like crunches. “There was at least one woman who was a virgin and she really loved that she could experience climax at the gym,” Abernethi stated, although he was somewhat dismayed to find out it was from crunches and not her watching the researchers strain and grunt on the elliptical machine. He mentioned his research would continue for the foreseeable future with plans to expand sites to rehab facilities.

I swear, what is wrong with the monkeys of the next generation? The latest form of entertainment for them, that has gone viral, is called the “cinnamon challenge.” This apparently grew out of those gross-out television shows such as “Fear Factor,” “Man vs. Food,” and “Bizarre Foods.” It’s a simple contest that’s made for video. The unwitting fool swallows a tablespoonful of ground cinnamon without drinking anything. Sounds simple but let’s take a look at the draw.

Cinnamon is a spice that, historically, was valued for its flavoring and preserving of foods. Cinnamon itself is the dried inner bark from Cinnamomum trees that are mostly grown in the spice capital of the world, Sri Lanka. Current market prices range from $6 to $9 per kilogram, based on classification. Cinnamon is commonly found in the spice aisle of your local supermarket as a fine powder. This form, along with its “hot” aromatic taste (cinnamaldehyde), contributes to the failure of many who attempt to ingest this potent, sweet wood.

Besides the chemical and physical attributes of cinnamon, what makes the challenge unbearable is the powder’s drying qualities. For anyone who has experienced “dry mouth,” it’s a fact that swallowing something without a liquid coating (that’s one reason why we have saliva) is like asking a wine blogger to buy a bottle of ultra-premium wine. Not. Gonna. Happen. The usual result of this challenge is the formation of a brown cloud of expelled spice followed by fits and bouts of gagging, coughing and the occasional hurling sound. Well, I guess it’s funny until someone coughs up a lung, which apparently has occurred in Michigan.

Speaking of the next generation of snot-nosed, attention-starved tech geeks, what the hell is up with their preference toward sweet red wines? Red wines should NEVER be sweet if anyone wants to be taken seriously. I consider it a major winemaking flaw. It’s like pouring refined sugar over a grilled ribeye steak. What. The. Fuck. ?. Oh yeah, I forgot, these snibbly, pubic-hair-shaving wunderkids want to blaze their own path rather than follow basic tenets, so go at it, hipster kiddies, enjoy your sweet red wines with your meals! Heck, it only sets them back five bucks and they get that wine-bottle-on-the-table chic look that makes them appear savvy. After all, it’s all about appearances, not substance. Heartbreaking.

Bodega Elena de Mendoza appears to be a new Argentina winery, although it gives the impression of having a long history with its winery being named after Elena Napoli, “whose parents emigrated from Italy… in the nineteenth century.” The winery’s first commercial export began with the 2007 vintage and currently offers only three wines: this, a malbec, and a chardonnay. I suspect this wine was custom made for Wine Brokers Unlimited out of Hayward, California to cater to the ultra-hot five-buck-chuck category of wine aficionados. I also suspect the rumors of being a subsidiary of Gallo are true. Figures.

You need some good news. The featured music pairing is that of the band, Karmin (a mashup of carmen–Latin for song, and karma), that is led by talented lead vocalist Amy Heidemann and her fiancée, keyboardist Nick Noonan. Amy (born May 8, 1986) hails from Seward, Nebraska while Nick grew up in Maine. The pair met at Berklee College of Music and their featured video tells of how they hooked up over a celery stick at a house party. Oddly, what attracts Karmin’s fans is not the creative lyrics and catchy beats, but it’s all about her ‘rapping’ abilities. Yeah, this from a white girl from Middle America. The band is loading up on its resume, besides being the featured music pairing awhile back with “Crash Your Party,” with their song “Take It Away” being the theme for the 2011 NBA Finals and appearing on tv shows “Ellen” and “Saturday Night Live.” But, this is the song that elevates them to superstar status, along with prominent placement in your local dentist’s office for years to come. Good stuff.

Tasted at 51-58 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: garnet-edged dark magenta. Nose: smoky black cherry, raspberry, cherry. Mouthfeel: thin. Tail trail: 3 seconds. Flavors: sweet blackberry, vanilla, mint, heat, plum.

Alcohol: 13.5%. 62% malbec, 21% syrah, 17% bonarda. Power: 1/5. Balance: 1/5. Depth: 0/5. Finesse: 0/5. Rated: 82. Value: $3. Paid: $4 (includes rebate). Retail: $11. Music pairing: “Brokenhearted” by Karmin. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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12 Responses to Bodega Elena de Mendoza 2010 Red Blend (Argentina)

  1. csabernethy says:

    You’re blowin’ my cover, man! You must understand how hard as it is to maintain anonymity by now. I was just about getting close enough to feel the earth move. Now I’ll have to approach from a different angle, preferably one with a good view…

    Sweet red wines, eh? The only sweet Washington wine I’ve ever tasted (intentionally sweet) was Sweet Anna Marie from Marshall’s Winery down in the Columbia Gorge west of Maryhill. If you’ve never been there, you need to go. A real experience, although their wines have gone to hell the last couple years. Warning: if you hear “Dueling Banjos”, pucker up tight and seek cover.

    I’ve also tasted sweet red wines from southern Michigan. It nearly rotted out the plumbing under my kitchen sink. Michigan is NOT a place for red wine. They have to leave R.S. to get any flavor at all.

    Cab Franc night was fun! Jen was giggling and sharing your tweets all evening. But bottom line – out of 20 Cab Francs I tasted, I would take a mediocre Cab or Syrah over most of them. Not my favorite stand-alone varietal. Sipping and spitting was pretty effective for me, although there were a couple I would have liked to swallow. My main observation: it gets a lot louder in the room after sampling 20 wines – something that most of the people in the room didn’t notice! We had 3-4 winemakers there, and 2 chefs. Almost all were industry folks in some form or fashion.

    FYI, we were tasting in the Walter Clore Pavilion, the Phase I facility. Ground will break on the main Walter Clore Center this fall.

  2. wawineman says:

    Sweet red wines just scream “cheapskate”.

    The sugars interfere with the wine’s complexity (if there is any). It’s like drinking cherry juice. It’s candy wine. It’s wine that announces “Look at me! I’m shallow, facetious, flippant, irrelevant, juvenile, farcical, and a future wine blogger.”

    I really need to get a bottle of Michigan wine now. You got me curious and as we all know…curiosity killed the cat.

    Thank you–I am so confused on what’s going on with the Walter Clore buildings. I heard there’s also some type of “culinary center” also on the map. I don’t know. Need to research more.

    I was stunned at the zero votes for that Red Mountain winery’s cab franc. For me, I can only hope the 2009s deliver like it did in barrel tastings. Those were some excellent, full-profile cab francs.

    Ya know, if that room didn’t get louder after sampling 20 wines, I’d have to find me a new group! That was fun following the tasting. I only wish more tweeters would sound up. “What? You don’t like bloody urine? #19” was the tweet of the night. Rofl-quality!

  3. csabernethy says:

    The red wines I tasted from Michigan that were putrid were the wines from southwestern Michigan (Berrien County and surrounding areas) I grew up smack dab in the middle of that area and don’t remember any wine being produced back then. Most of the whites have high sugar levels, more like dessert wines. The red wines from up north (Traverse City area, Old Mission Peninsula) were not sweet, but had virtually no flavor. The reds were Pinot Noir and Cab Franc. I found one decent Rose.

    Next BBWN is 4/9 – California Cabs vs Washington Cabs. I hope there are a few “ringers” in the mix to make it interesting. We’re having it at Daven Lore Winery, just south of Prosser. This one could be epic!

  4. csabernethy says:

    Back to sweet red wines – I bought that bottle of Sweet Anna Marie with a particular person in mind. It was $10-$12. Chuck is a golfing buddy of mine, and was about 85 at the time. Whenever anyone knew Chuck was coming to an event, they would put out a bottle of good dessert wine – the $35 for a split. Chuck would take a sip, then fill his wine glass to the rim. He would drink the entire bottle in a heartbeat. It was worth it to see the smile on his face. I took the Sweet Anna Marie to a 4th of July party and didn’t tell Chuck what is was. He sampled it, then ended up drinking the entire bottle – over ice cubes. It was hot out that day…

  5. wawineman says:

    I checked on a Fennville winery and Cascade Winery… man, they got some gnarly-sounding wines: traminette, late-harvest vignoles, rosso grande, a sangiovese-merlot, Delaware, and jalapeno. Well, it would be interesting to have an understanding of what their 4 AVAs each taste like.

    CA vs WA cabs… will there be a price range or is it unlimited? Would hate to see a lineup of Golden Gate, Gallo, Carlo Rossi, Charles Shaw, and Turning Leaf go up against Cooper, Gramercy, Columbia Crest reserve, Cote Bonneville, Upland Estates… Then again, would love to see Pahlmeyer, Seavey, Diamond Creek, Harlan, Colgin go against same WA lineup.

    Anyone who is 85 drinks whatever he wants. By that time, I hear the tastebuds are already in the grave so, man, I would have loved to see the old chip-shot down the whole tenth of a dessert wine. I would be most impressed! Chuck’s my kind of bro. It’s just wine–enjoy the journey, whatever bottle you need to conquer along the way.

    • csabernethy says:

      No price limit, but knowing the participants, I would assume mid-price bottles for most. Of course, a mid-priced CA make cost a helluva lot more than a Cooper! I’ve arranging to get a Cab from the Rock Pile region in Sonoma. Don’t know how much it will cost yet. I think it will by a Stryker. Ever heard of them? Chuck is still going strong at 89, except he can’t hear shit and can’t see his golf ball. And he wastes a ton of time choosing clubs after checking out every shot with his Sky Caddie. Otherwise, he is a pleasure to be around. I’ll let you know what a “good” CA goes for and what I think it’s worth after I taste it.

  6. wawineman says:

    Never heard of Stryker. Never even heard of the Rock Pile region. I don’t know how you keep up with California wines. It’s bad enough keeping track of who’s coming and going in Woodinville.

    That Chuck’s crazy. My motto is “miss it quick.” Ready golf. And I have one rule: no gadgets on the course, and that includes phones. Golf is supposed to be an escape (to pure frustration)! But, I tell ya, worst day on the golf course beat all my best days in the office. And that includes teeing off with a putter since my driver went AWOL that round (true story).

  7. wawineman says:

    Wonder how people will judge that next tasting… so many factors to consider. Acid? Fruit? Funk? Wood juice? Secondary flavors? What will you be looking for?

  8. csabernethy says:

    I’ve only tasted a few “good” CA wines, and for me, I got a different nose from CA that I was not very fond of. I’ve tasted about 5 wines from the Rockpile Vineyard in Sonoma, but most were zin-based blends. I also tasted a Joseph Phelps Cab a couple years ago that I didn’t like at first, but over an hour, it opened up and was very good. It was also a $200 bottle!

    I’m sure everyone will simply use the “mmmm, that tastes good” method. And with our palates being developed on WA wines, I think most in our group will choose WA wines in the blind. A few in our group are recent emigrants from CA, so it will be interesting to see how they vote! We will pick a winner but I will also summarize how many votes went to WA and how many for CA. I’m thinking the movie “Bottle Shock” may be the theme for the evening.

    Stay tuned….

  9. wawineman says:

    I am already sensing that “Bottle Shock” look from some tasters. You should ask beforehand who in the audience thinks they know the profile of a Washington cabernet and are they willing to bet they can nail all of the Washington cabs. I’d be willing to put up a bottle of Cooper cab to the winner, but if they lose, they owe me a bottle of Cooper cab.

    Would be funny if someone brought a South American cabernet or even an Oregon version for a “ringer.”

  10. csabernethy says:

    With the exception of the many winemakers in the group, I don’t think anyone has that much knowledge on WA Cab profile, myself included. We had some pretty prestigious tasters at our last event, and NONE of them voted for the Fidelitas Cab Franc, which I would have thought had a solid Cab Franc profile.

    I would like to think there is a striking difference between CA and WA, but it will all depend on whether the quality of wines from each state are comparable. The bottle I intend to bring is a $50 bottle, by far not a Charles Shaw or Gallo. On the other hand, if we get some Red Diamond or Two Vines thrown in on the WA side, it could drag the scores down for WA. One more thing to analyze when summarizing the results.

    “Ringers” are fun. I almost put a BDX blend in the Cab Franc lineup – it would have won hands down because many would have voted their palates and wouldn’t have known it wasn’t a Cab Franc. That’s a wicked trick, but still fun….

  11. wawineman says:

    Oh you nasty boy! A BDX into that cab franc tasting…

    I just hope someone brings a Betz ‘Pere de Famille’ to compare to that $50 CA cab. That would be fair. Same vintage year, also. I trust your group is not mostly hoidy-toidies or undocumented day-slaverers so that both WA and CA are fairly represented. This would be the time to bring that ‘special’ bottle.

    From my very limited CA cab tastings, I think WA cabs have more vibrancy (at comparable price levels), a defter touch oak integration, more backbone, more depth, more finesse, and do not lean as dark on the blackcurrants and cassis for better balance. Of course, WA has many exceptions to that, but it’s the general profile I have thus far of cabs in the $15-200 range.

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