2011 Roca Andina Malbec Mendoza 12-Pack
 
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Vineyards of Mendoza A Deal Gone Bad

The 2011 Roca Andina was crafted by the most famous female winemaker in Argentine history. Deep, dark and brooding with a luscious core of blackberry preserves and violets, the high-toned backbone speaks of the indelible winemaking signature of a woman we like to call the Queen of Agrelo.

In 2011, America's most prominent Argentine wine importer was commissioned by Vino Volo -- the high-end wine bar chain found in airports from JFK to SFO -- to produce a thousand cases of Malbec to be bottled under an exclusive label. The importer, anxious to improve their relationship with the chain, agreed. Then, he did one better, calling the Queen.

The deal, we're told, was made with a handshake just prior to the superb 2011 harvest. The minimalist label was quickly designed with a little assistance from Adobe Photoshop. The importer, hoping for a multi-year commitment, instructed the winemaker to over-deliver. The 2011 Roca Andina came from a superb vintage batch that would earn 90+ points from Parker's Wine Advocate. Working on razor sharp margins, the importer shipped the wine to each Vino Volo location, where it would be offered for just $8/glass, spoiling airport travelers nationwide.

The buyer, the seller and the Queen were all feeling pretty good about their new partnership. The 2011 Roca Andina was well received, the importer presumably preparing for a far bigger order in 2012. Then, out of nowhere, the train came off the tracks.

During our import careers, we learned to steer away from long term by-the-glass deals with restaurant chains, when we were obliged to hold inventory. Almost always sealed with a handshake -- in lieu of an iron clad contract -- we were, much too often, left dangling in the wind. The reasons given? Sales slowed down. Another competing wine captured the buyer's fancy, syphoning off depletions. Or worst of all, the guy with whom we'd cut the deal moved on, and his replacement had different friends in higher places.

That's exactly what the importer told us happened in the case of Vino Volo the 2011 Roca Andina.



Tasting Notes

2011 Roca Andina Malbec Mendoza
"Deep purple to the edge with luscious aromas of blackberry and blueberry preserves, laced with sweet mountain spices. Incredibly rich and concentrated for a Malbec in its price category, the attack is dense and plush without being over-ripe or candied. Firm and suave in the mid-palate, with a long finish -- always the signature flourish of the Queen of Agrelo. Drink now, but don't be afraid to lay this one down for 2-3 years. It has all the stuffing required for the longer haul."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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