This week, I thought I’d try two reds on opposite ends of the flavor spectrum. For a heavier, medium bodied wine, I chose a Malbec from Pascual Toso. On the lighter side, I selected a Pinot Noir from Mark West. Although I’m constantly impressed by the wide choice of varietals on the market and the multitude of flavor profiles, it was the similarities between these two wines that surprised me most.
The Pascual Toso is a 2008 Malbec from Mendoza province in the western part of Argentina and is imported by TGIC Importers, Inc . It’s made from 100% Malbec grapes, has a deep ruby color and 14% ABV. If you love medium bodied reds, this one won’t disappoint. It delivers an immediate spiciness on the tongue followed by undertones of smoke and chocolate. This wine is what I’ve come to expect from the other well-balanced reds I’ve tried from the Mendoza region and would be great for serving with red meat, chili, or anything spicy like Indian food. The wine took Gold in the 2009 International Wine Challenge and at less than $13, is an excellent choice for your next Tuesday wine.
The 2008 Pinot by Mark West is from Sonoma County, California with a purplish-red garnet color and 13.8% ABV. I really like this wine because of its versatility. Some Pinots are so light bodied, that even though they go well with poultry or pork, can’t stand up to red meat, duck or spicy foods. Because of its “bolder than usual Pinot” flavor, the Mark West is a great all purpose wine for just about any food. The flavor is smooth with a lingering aftertaste of ripe berries. I thought it would be vastly different from the Malbec, but given the Pinot’s complex flavor and medium body, the two wines aren’t so far apart on the red wine spectrum after all.
On a side note, if you’ve never tried a “cooled” red, a Pinot Noir can be a great alternative to accompany a lighter meal like seared tuna or angel hair pasta with a lemon cream sauce. Give the bottle a few minutes in the icebox just to take it below room temperature without actually chilling it. I think this brings out unique flavor in the wine and is a great way to shake up traditional food/wine parings.Reporting from the Front Porch Swing, Mark D.