Amalaya Gran Corte 2012

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Amalaya Gran Corte 2012

Most of the time in this space we talk about wines from Mendoza, but some of the most exciting wines in Argentina are being grown in other areas.


The desert region of Salta, in the The Calchaqui Valley, is home to several properties from the well known Hess Estate, which has properties in California and around the world.
In Argentina both their wineries, Colomé and Amalaya, are located in Salta.
You’ve seen us talk about Colomé Estate before, and it remains one of our very favorite malbecs in the $25 range. This region is home to some of the highest vineyards, anywhere in the world. Grown at more than 5,200 feet, Amalaya is a celebration of this desert micro-climate. It’s less expensive than Colomé Estate from the same owners, but a delicious celebration of the same region.
Amalaya Red Blend
Amalaya is widely distributed in the U.S. – in fact, it’s one of the most common mid-priced wines in better liquor stores. More than likely, you’ve seen their red blend in the blue bottle for around $15, and they also make a very good for the price Torrontés.
Amalaya Torrontés
On this rare occasion we got to enjoy a different bottle we got as a gift – a wine that is typically available only available in South America, the Amalaya Gran Corte. (You can find it at a few select U.S. merchants on Wine-Searcher.) The Amalaya Gran Corte is a red blend of Malbec, Tannat and Cabernet Franc, grown at about 5,400 feet.
On first opening, I got just a hint of a barnyard scent, but after five minutes this wine began to come alive. An aerator or decanter would be a nice idea for this one. If I could get it at my local store, it would definitely be in my regular rotation. There’s a nice combination of fruit, spice, and minerality – it’s not an oak bomb like some lower-priced Argentine reds… there’s an elegance and subtlety going on here that is to be appreciated, especially in the $20 range.
You know, I was originally going to give this wine 3.5 stars – but then I tasted it on the second night. How often can you say a bottle of wine tastes better on the second night than the first night you opened it? Tonight, it’s 4 stars.

Buyer’s Tip: Weekend mixed case sale at Ansley Park Kroger, Atlanta, GA


One of the nice benefits of the grocery wars in the Southeastern U.S.: a few stores are using huge, impressive selections of great wine as a point of differentiation.

One great example is the Ansley Park Kroger in Atlanta, Georgia, which is having a 10% off mixed-cases sale this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

The Ansley Kroger arguably offers the most impressive selection of $20-40 bottles in the city, as well as some great bargain buys, so this is a great opportunity to try some things – assemble a case and enjoy a mix of malbecs you haven’t tried in different price ranges.

If you live in Georgia, this is a sale I wouldn’t miss.

Miravida Soho – A Boutique Hotel for Wine Lovers

If you look at the hotel reviews for Buenos Aires on Trip Advisor, the #1 hotel is the stunning 5-star Alvear Palace, which runs about $400 a night.

Guess what #2 is? An innocuous 6-room hotel in the fashionable Palermo Soho neighborhood, with rooms in the mid $100s.


Having stayed there twice, I’m here to tell you: Miravida Soho is the real deal. The location is perfect. The rooms are comfortable. And the staff – maybe the best of any boutique hotel I’ve ever stayed in, worldwide. They simply can’t do enough for you.



When I had difficulties changing a LAN Airlines flight, the front desk manager Pamela (who also served my delicious breakfasts in the morning) spent 1 HOUR on the phone with LAN, helping me get through all the Spanish language menus to make the change. We’re talking 6-star service. They were more than happy to let me store a piece of wine luggage while I spent five nights in Mendoza.


The back courtyard, where breakfast is served on sunny mornings, is elegant and quiet.

And because the hotel has its own wine bar, the evening dynamic is much friendlier than at more soulless hotels. They’ll happily pour you a glass of first-rate vino at the end of your evening – whether that’s 10 PM or 4 am.


And it’s wine you’d actually want to drink – from Tacuil, the highest vineyard in the world, to Bramare from Vina Cobos. It’s rare to find good wines by the glass in a hotel setting in B.A – especially at reasonable prices.

In a city with occasional security concerns like Buenos Aires, there’s much to be said for enjoying a nightcap in the safety of your very secure hotel, with fellow travelers who are eager to share stories and tips. And the hotel employees are right there in the conversation, just like your favorite bartender. I enjoyed every evening at the wine bar.

Miravida Soho’s staff quickly become newfound friends. The hotel has recently undergone a change in ownership, but the entire staff remains the same. Ale, Taunya,  Pamela, Felipe, Gabriel, Omar and Roberto – I loved them all, and look forward to returning next trip.

Patience is a virtue, yes?

Patience is a virtue, yes? Rearranging our wine coolers this morning. Here are a few favorite bottles we’ve put away for aging, all 2004-2009 vintages. Need to go back and look at Robert Parker reviews to check the recommended years for enjoying these, but in most cases they should benefit from more time in the bottle.