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Updated: Nov 9, 2022

by Andrew Chalk

It says something about the impact of Argentine malbec that at least two generations in America consider malbec to be an Argentinian grape. The expressive dark fruit, new French oak, grippy, but not rough, tannins. It has created a lifelong relationship with a grape that produces wine so competitively priced from prices that everybody can afford them up to higher-priced offerings that are world-class wines that make lovers of Bordeaux and Napa red wines pause.

This week I had the honor of attending a media event with Trivento, the third-largest exporter of wine from Argentina. Chief winemaker Germán Di Cesare led the tasting. They

Trivento Chief Winemaker Germán Di Cesare
Trivento Chief Winemaker Germán Di Cesare

make wines across this whole price range from their Trivento Reserve Malbec, which constitutes 70% of their output, to $100+ bottles produced in tiny quantities.

Fortunately, this tasting featured two of Trivento’s top wines in the US market, the Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2020 and the Trivento Eolo 2016.

The Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2020 Luján de Cuyo ($20) sources fruit from several vineyards in the Luján de Cuyo area of the Mendoza region. Alluvial soils predominate in these vineyards. The winemaking is fairly conventional up until the aging stage when the oak regime involves five different years of French oak barrels and both bariques and foudres (large vats). Final blending combines these in the proportions dictated by chief winemaker Germán Di Cesare and his crew of winemakers for the desired definition of the finished product.

The 2020 that we tasted was an opaque ruby in the glass with a nose of oak, raspberries, blackberries, thyme and black pepper. On the palate the dark fruit predominated in a very youthful wine where the tannins were prominent but not harsh. Clearly designed to be palatable now I anticipate a decade or so of aging would show it at its best.

The Trivento Eolo 2016 ($110) is the halo wine of the winery. Made from a single vineyard first planted a century ago it exhibits a unique and distinctive style that separates it from the preceding wine. The wine is completely opaque in the glass and has a forward, pronounced nose of blackcurrants, figs, cigar box, lead pencil and forest floor. On the palate it has a commanding weight, huge dollops of the aforementioned fruits, and emergence tertiary flavors like chocolate. Very impressive now with tannins that are silky but could be kept 10+ years for enhancement with age.

It should be mentioned that the tasting was at Oak Cliff neighborhood New American restaurant Isla who kindly donated their kitchen and brigade to Argentine guest chef Adrianne Calvo. She has two restaurants in Miami’s booming restaurant scene, half a dozen cook books, and an Emmy Award-winning YouTube series. She conceded to me that her mentor is Thomas Keller, stemming from the time she staged at The French Laundry. She wowed me with her take on lamb chops, the perfect accompaniment to this (maybe all) Malbec.

Guest Chef Adrianne Calvo
Guest Chef Adrianne Calvo



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