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A Summer Breeze and Some Malbec, Please.
by john axelrod ©2013


When summer finally comes, and not all that too soon, while the winds of a cool spring seem to still linger, enjoy the relief of sunshine gaucho style. Go on a trip, dance some tango and drink a fresh bottle of Malbec. Why Malbec?

The Malbec found its way from the vineyards of the Medoc across the Atlantic in 1852 to valleys at the base of the Andes mountains in Argentina. There, this tannic, acidic , dark and juicy grape found its place to shine. The land offers a superb soil and climate for producing sumptuous grapes capable of creating deep, rich wines.

The region of Mendoza, the largest Malbec producing area, is cross country from Buenos Aires. But the tango is the music that sails on the summer wind from the vineyards to the taverns. Listening to Astor Piazzolla, his Libertango or his classic Oblivion, who cannot help but straighten the back and pose?

All that dancing can make you hungry. In between the rosé on ice, or prosecco with carpaccio, summer sunsets are the best time for BBQ and Malbec. Either on the beach, in the backyard, or kitchen grill, the BBQ is the prescription for the springtime blues. The Argentinian Gaucho style, with a steak smothered in chimichurri sauce, is complimented by the spiciness and coffee flavors of the wine. The acidity balances well with most meals, but particularly well with smoked and flavored meats. Aconcagua, Piazzolla's bandeoneon concerto, and the equally alluring Trangazo, his orchestral variations on Buenes Aires, all make for an outstanding orchestral soundtrack for any summer BBQ.

The Malbec is still relatively inexpensive, compared to the quality. Because of the novelty of new world wines, the Malbec remains underrated and affordable. Here, finally, is a wine under 20€ that can be considered consistent and delicious, even on picnic or poolside. Try the 2004 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec (Mendoza) and you wont be disappointed.

Malbec is not only the perfect combination with the summer BBQ. Just as a summer BBQ can satisfy the soul, and the stomach, the Malbec happens to be your heart's best friend. Drinking wine is apparently healthy. The Malbec, full of flavonoids, happens to be the one grape offering the most benefits to the heart.

Piazzolla's tangos are full of rhythmic accents, articulated strings and the wailing song of the bandoneon. The soft passages can feel like the summer breeze over the Copacabana. The fortes are passionate displays of primal energy which get the inner juices flowing. The Malbec is marked by fresh fruit when cultivated at low altitudes to intense flavors when harvested at higher ranges and barrel oak aged. Music and wine that helps the hearts and minds.

So, if summertime is when the body batteries recharge, give the spirit that extra boost with some healthy Malbec and your favorite Piazzolla.