Friday, May 13, 2011

Bodega Renacer: Enamored with Enamore

Enamore "...has the jaw-dropping sex appeal of an Argentinean lingerie model."   
--Bounty Hunter catalog

A few days before I left for Argentina, I recieved the latest copy of the Bounty Hunter wine catalog. Within the pages, I found a review of the Bodega Renacer Enamore, an Amarone style wine, and it certainly caught my eye. I knew that I would be visiting that winery, so I hoped that I would get to sample the Enamore, to determine whether it lived up to the sensual review.

Bodega Renacer is a relatively new winery in Argentina, having been established in 2002, and has a Chilean pedigree.  The family which owns the winery is from Chile, and had worked in a Chilean winery but one which emphasized quantity over quality. In time, they chose to move to Mendoza, to create their own winery where they could produce more quality-driven wines.  Their name, Renacer, means "rebirth." 

The winery is located in Perdriel, in the foothills of the Andes, and it is stunningly beautiful with an incredible view of the mountains. For wine productuion, they use state of the art Italian technology, with both stainless steel and cement, with epoxy, tanks.  They produce mainly Malbec-based wines, purchasing about 60% of their grapes they use, thus allowing them to sample numerous terroirs, including Uco Valley, Lujan de Cuyo and Medrano. They own about 29 hectares of Malbec vineyards. One of the vineyards they lease originated in 1918, and these old vines end up in their highest quality wines.  Each year, they produce about 100,000 cases of wine. It is interesting to note that their Malbecs are almost never 100% Malbec, but usually have a tiny percentage of some other grape added. 

The winery is also a pioneer in the use of precision viticulture, which attempts to maximize vineyard quality by measuring local variation with science and technology.  They have worked with Pedro Parra, the famous Chilean soil scientist, to help determine the nature of their soil and terroir, using tools such as sonar. This leads to the creation of detailed vineyard maps, so that the winery can best understand where specific grapes will be the best. 

One of their first wines we tasted was the 2010 Punto Final Malbec Rose, which is a relatively new wine for them, 2009 having been their first vintage.  It is not currently available in the U.S. but it should be as this was a delicious wine, perfect for a summer day.  It had a dark pink color with an alluring red fruit nose, and that red fruit came out in the taste, yet there was still restraint to the fruit flavors.  It was dry, with a bit of tartness, had good acidity and some slight herbal tastes. The finish was moderately long and left you desiring another sip. This wine would be great with a variety of foods, and if available, I would be drinking it all summer.

We also tasted through their three level of Malbec, including their entry level, Reserva and Gran Reserva. In general, they were big, tannic wines, the type you need to drink with a thick, juicy steak. They also generally had lots of black fruit flavors with plenty of spice. But, I think, at least for me, they were all surpassed by the Enamore.
When Marilisa Allegrini visited the Mendoza region, she felt that it possessed the perfect condition to produce Amarone, so Bodega Renacer, in collaboration with Allegrini Winery, decided to give it a try. Their first vintage was 2006. For Amarone, a process called appassimento is used, where grapes are dried out, traditionally on straw mats, for about three months.  The grapes lose both water and malic acid, while there is an intense concentration of flavors and sugars. To make Enamore, the grapes are also allowed to dry out on straw mats, as pictured above. Due to the climate in Mendoza though, the drying process only takes about three weeks.

The name of the wine, Enamore, means "to be in love" and, cleverly, it is also an anagram for Amarone. On the label, the red string near the top represents Italy, the Old World, while the orange string at the bottom represents Argentina, the New World.  Both strings then meet at the "M" which stands for Mendoza, where the two wineries came together. Approximately 5,000 cases are produced each year, with about 60% being exported to the U.S. and 20% to Italy. This is probably the only Amarone style wine produced anywhere in Argentina.  

The Enamore ($30) is a blend of 62% Malbec, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 9% Bonarda, and 4% Syrah, though the blend may vary year from year.  It spends about one year in new French oak and has an alcohol content of 14.5%.  This wine captivated me from my first taste. Though it is a big wine, with strong tannins, it has a silky and hedonistic backbone which I found especially alluring. The taste was complex, with a melange of ripe plum, dried raisens, chocolate notes, dusty spice, and more.  The lengthy, pleasing finish seduced my tastebuds, beckoning me like a siren to seek more of this velvety wine. At this price, I think it is an excellent value, delivering as much as some wines at twice the price. Yes, I was quite enamored with this Enamore.

The Enamore would pair well with steak, lamb, and other hearty dishes.  After our visit to Bodega Renacer, we had lunch at the oustanding Cavas Wine Lodge, and I thoroughly was delighted by the Enamore with lamb ravioli. This wine gets my highest recommendation and I will be seeking it out too.


CMS Websites said...

Oh My God !!! Bodega is my favorite wine and recipes looks so delicious. best posting

Anonymous said...

Good Lord, folks, "bodega" means estate. Half the wineries in the world's Hispanic countries are named Bodegas-something. It means "estate". I don't know why this is so hard to get.

La Casa de Antociano said...

Looks like Anonymous (and the author of the blog) doesn't get that the comment from CMS Websites is an effort to get link back to his site and have very few or nothing to do with the wine word.
After this out of the topic introduccion I have to congratule the author for the experience in Renacer, is a very different wine and make me remember of Malamado, a Porto style wine from Zuccardi, also from Argentina.

Figueiredo said...

Very interesting. I became really curious about Enamore. I'll buy a bottle for sure. It's being sold for U$ 28 here in Porto Alegre.

Well, I also have a blog focusing wines from Brazil.

Good post.