We at The Thirsty Kitten love our local wine merchants. While we do order a fair amount of our wine directly from our favorite wineries, we also have a huge appreciation for our local retail stores. They routinely introduce us to wines we wouldn’t otherwise have found, steer us to good deals, and tell us great stories about the wines and the winemakers. Plus, there are some very nice, very knowledgeable and very fun people in the wine retailing business and we like to make new friends. So yesterday, when we hadn’t yet concocted a plan for today’s blog, I headed down the road to Pairings Food & Wine Market.
I explained our plight to Wine Consultant Troy and asked for suggestions for a wine from a small, family owned winery with a good story. (Troy, by the way, has a wine blog of his own, La Vino Dolce, which focuses on sweet wines and is well worth a visit. See what I mean about meeting fun people in the wine retailing business?!) Troy asked if I was familiar with Meschini Family Winery. I was not. “Well,” he said, “the story goes like this . . .” Ahhh, I sighed and relaxed immediately. I was in good hands.
Troy told me of Eugenio and Teresa Meschini, a local couple from right here in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, who just happen to make wine in Argentina. I loved that the “local” wine I was hearing about was actually Argentinian. The concept of “local” became a whole lot broader to me in that instant and I liked the thought very much. I could practically hear Disney’s “It’s A Small World” playing in my mind.
The Meschini family immigrated from Italy to Argentina in the early 1900’s. By the 1960’s, Primo Meschini began making wine in Argentina’s Mendoza region, planting Dolcetto grapes from the family’s ancestral homeland. Primo’s son Pacifico carried on the family business and inspired his own three sons to dream of following in his footsteps someday. Sadly, at Pacifico’s death in 1978, the winery property was sold. Heartbroken, son Eugenio left Argentina for the United States, attending college in Minnesota, meeting his future wife Teresa (a Minnesota native), marrying, and starting a family. But still, the brothers continued to share a dream of owning their own winery. So in 2004, the three Meschini brothers bought acreage in Mendoza, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, and revived the family business.
Though living here in the United States, Eugenio and Teresa are nonetheless very actively involved in the winery’s operations, going to Argentina for harvests and helping run the business from their home base here in the States. They even started their own wine import-export business in order to bring the Meschini wines into this market themselves. (I must say a special thanks here to blogger The Savvy Lush, who interviewed the Meschini’s and posted about their wines. This post gave us details on the family story that were not necessarily available on the winery’s website. Thanks, Savvy Lush! And cheers!)
Troy spoke favorably of all the Meschini wines, so I found myself grabbing a bottle each time he showed me a new one. I brought home the Unoaked Chardonnay, the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, the Malbec-Syrah Blend and the Torrontés sparkler. If they hadn’t been out of the Malbec, I’d have bought that, too. The prices were delightfully affordable, with all being $11.99 except for the Reserve Cab at $15.99 (A reserve Cab for under $20?! Wow!) We chose two to open for our tasting.
The 2011 Famiglia Meschini Premium Unoaked Chardonnay from Mendoza had a refreshingly pale yellow color. The aroma was crisp, hinting of acidity, but with some softness of pears, as well. Kip noted lemongrass and subtle citrus on the nose, comparing it to the French chardonnays. On the palate, the fruit flavors hit the tongue first, with melon, pear and perhaps a tad of apple being most prevalent. The lovely acidity of the wine hit the back of the palate and lingered. A thoroughly enjoyable sipper.
The 2009 Premium Blend Malbec-Syrah had a deep, dark inky color. I found dark fruits of all sorts in the aroma and some spice on the nose, as well. Kip discerned more mineral and earth. We found lovely flavors of dark cherry and blackberry with some smoke and spice at the back of the sip. We happened to be nibbling on a wood fired pizza and the combination was wonderful. We heartily recommend both these wines as great values and fun sipping and can’t wait to try the others.
So this week at The Kitten, we raise our glasses to keeping it local, doing business with the good folks right in your own backyard, and to savoring the connections that make us all just a world full of good neighbors, no matter where we live. Cheers! And Salud!