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Aug 30

Argentine Tasting @ the Argentine Bean

Monday night I attended a wine tasting at the Argentine Bean in Crestview Hills with my friend Gabrielle. We tried several wines from the Filus Wines portfolio, locally distributed by Heidelburg.

The winemaker was a sweet woman whose name I didn’t catch. She loved to talk about her wines and encouraged questions, moving from table to table pouring glasses and chatting. We tasted two different lines from her winery, and I’ll get to those in a minute.

Argentine_2Things are changing at The Argentine Bean.
The Argentine Bean hasn’t been my favorite place, despite its close location and fantastic concept. I’ve always been slightly turned off by the prices and I haven’t always had great service. But this time around we had excellent service and the price was right ($18) for many oversized pours and tasty appetizers. In the past, I’ve criticized their wine prices. Knowing what the bottles actually cost, I was astounded at the mark-up of both the bottles and the glasses. They’ve been doing some work on the wine list though, and it’s gone through some drastic – but pleasant – changes.

On Tuesday, Sept 4, they’ll debut a new menu, new wine list, and updated prices – but I got a sneak peek at the Wine & Beer list. The mark-up is now standard for most restaurants and the most expensive glass of wine is a glass of Graham’s Six Grapes Port for $8.75 and an Abrazo Reserve Garnacha (Spain) for $8.25. Most of the other glasses on the list go for between $4.75 and $6.50, which is right where they should be and more in line with similar restaurants. You can buy a bottle of the Tierra Brisas Cabernet, which we tasted Monday night, for only $16. In fact, the bottle prices are incredibly reasonable. Prices do go up when you wander into the Reserve Bottle list and the Sparklers, but that’s to be expected. The wine list should appeal to many palates and nicely complement the tapas. The beer list has also been slightly revamped, and you can now get a beer for less than $5, mostly imports and microbrews.

Next Wednesday is also half-price Wine night, and my husband will be in Miami for the day for business. Since I can’t join him in Miami, I might pop by the Argentine Bean to check out the new menu and enjoy some wine at an excellent price. I look forward to frequenting the Argentine Bean on a more regular basis, with their new menu and new wine prices, and of course, their desserts. Their desserts, by the way, have always been heavenly and I would pay any price for several of them. But then – I do love desserts.

Quick wine tasting notes after the jump.

One of the great things about this tasting is that the distributor rep, Jen, provided a sheet for tasting notes. I simply can’t emphasize enough what a great tactic this is, and all tastings should offer tasting sheets.

Let’s get started.

Medrano 2006 Chardonnay: This was not your typical California Chardonnay. This was a lightly oaked wine, with 20% of the grapes having spent only 6 mos in French and American Oak. There was a subtle hint of pineapple and apples. This was a well balanced and enjoyable chardonny, and I’m not usually a fan.
My Rating:

Medrano 2006 Merlot: This is a food wine, without a doubt. This might be the anti-Sideways merlot, full of smoke, black currant, coffee and earth. Good merlot always surprises me, and this was indeed a surprise. It was slightly tannic, but not overbearing.
My Rating:

Medrano 2005 Malbec: I tend to think of Malbecs as spicy, and occasionally, TOO spicy. This had its share of spice, but it was more subtle on the tongue. This didn’t have the green pepper tinge I so dislike in many of these wines. It would be fantastic with a steak.
My rating:

Tierra Brisa 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: This had a great mix of plums and dark berries, with slight pepper notes. Again, it was not overly tannic, but well balanced. The Tierra Brisa line is lighter than the Medrano line, and easier to drink without food.
My rating:

Tierra Brisa 2005 Malbec:
This was my least favorite of the wines we tried. I didn’t find it to be as balanced as the Medrano Malbec and I detected a hint of vegetable/green pepper. However, I appreciated the softness of this wine, and the slight spiciness.
My rating:

Filus 2005 Malbec: This was the bonus wine, served decanted, which is not yet available in our area. It was filled with black currant, dark cherries, and light chocolate.
My rating:

The Medrano and Tierra Brisas lines are available for $16 or so a bottle on the Argentine Bean’s new wine list. You can also special order it from your local and favorite liquor store for probably under $10/bottle. Overall, these lines provide excellent taste and value for your dollar.

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Posted by Michelle at 10:03 am in Cincinnati, Dinner and Drinks, Tastings, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments ()

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