A monthly review of an easily obtainable wine that’s had a recommendation somewhere in a National newspaper. Always posted just before the usual monthly theme, this may be the latest post for only a few days…

Dominio del Plata Cabernet Sauvignon 2011  (Susana Balbo) – 14% – M&S £10

This wine, which is a deep purple colour, comes (as most Argentinian wine does) from Mendoza. The nose has immediate woody notes, creamy vanilla – al from oak? Then blackcurrant – even blackcurrant cordial or cassis…

Sweet cordial fruit on the palate with a hint of mint and aromatic-herb tinged tannins. Weak acidity makes the palate seem very thick and heavy, along with alcohol warmth.

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After a while, as the wine airs, the acidity, an almost citrus plum-skin acidity, lifts the wine. This is quite unexpected and I wonder if the wine’s heavy nose is a hint of it being reduced? Reductive wine is starved of oxygen in the winemaking process (the opposite of oxidation) and usually manifests itself through a sulphurous pong. This wine has none of that but its change is so dramatic after an hour in a glass (when most wines would start to give the tobacco notes of “going over”) that I wonder if the airing is something it needs.

I decided to vacuum seal half the wine and see what happened 24 hours later. The later sample had changed a little anyway – less oak and even more blackcurrant and the tannins seemed a little fuller, less herby and more earthy. But the same thing happened again: airing led to higher acidity. Making the wine better balanced… ok, let’s be honest “less unbalanced”! It was still a pretty standard big, grainy, oaked, blackcurrant and plum-skin, New World Cabernet.

With food (turkey in a, quite hot, mustard cream sauce) the acidity was absolutely necessary, and the vanilla creaminess helped, making the wine work better, though I think a Salice at this price would be better still.

Overall: decant into an open jug an hour or two before serving and you have a serviceable big New World Cabernet… if you want that sort of thing? Un-decanted it gets a point or two less!

Ratings:   Quality: 13/20            Value: 14/20

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