The Time Is Now: Piedra Negra 2002

by Liz Caskey on May 13, 2011

I think all of us wine lovers, collectors, enophiles, and foodies tend to accumulate bottles of wine. Whole cellars of them. There, the wine “babies” lie for many moons, even years or decades, waiting for that perfect moment to be opened and savored. Wine is so intrinsically tied to memories and pleasure: of trips, people, places, and moments. In those special bottles we hope to rekindle meaningful moments through the wine. Though collecting wine is pleasurable, I have found myself increasingly pained to open some bottles. That by consuming them, the possibility they offer no longer exists. To let them “die,” i.e. become vinegar, without a chance to be appreciated, enjoyed, expressed, loved and savored, seems wrong too.

Given the above Francisco & I have decided to put some of our wines that we’ve been “saving” on our “to drink” list. Find the space, together, to drink these wines one by one. Create a meal and moment around their taste and substance. The next wine on the list was bought on one of our first road trips to Mendoza, Argentina: Piedra Negra from Lurton in the Uco Valley.

This winery is the perfect intersection of Argentine terroir meshing, beautifully, with French technique and vision.  The house style produces wines that are elegant.  Refined, yet bursting with intensity, grip and depth that only can be expressed through Argentina’s soil and sun.

Piedra Negra owes its name to the black stone soils of the Andean foothills where the vineyard that births this wine. Located at the feet of the Andes, the wine was born of the owners’ search to create an Argentinean-style Malbec with French know-how. Malbec. A tension between that fruity, intense New World quality and subtle Old World finesse and elegance.

We had bought the 2002 vintage after a tasting, impressed with this particular vintage (full of fresh fruit and nervous yet round tannins). Local winemakers at that time (over 6 years ago) were touting this as one of the best vintages in Mendoza to date. Hence, Piedra Negra found a home in our cave.

So what’s this wine like? Made from 100% Malbec (vines of 50% Argentine Malbec and 50% French Cot), it has aromas of blasting blackberries, mint and sweet oak from the barrel for a rather “meaty” bouquet. There’s more berries and plum in the mouth, ripe and fresh, with refined tannins that tango with your palate. This wine does a little dance in your mouth and it’s not about a 1-2-3. The texture is chocolaty, silky, and just delicious.

Pairings? Keep it simple. Grilled steak with roasted veggies; or even a platter of cheeses like sheep’s milk (Pecorino, Manchego) and salumi.

And to all my fellow wine lovers “waiting” on drinking that wine. Just drink it. The time is now. Relish in every moment of its “life”. Funny enough, the memories of buying it become replaced by the memories of drinking it.

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