Thursday, April 3, 2008

Trumpeter Mendoza Malbec, 2006

My first thought on tasting this Malbec from Argentina was that it was a bit sweet for a red table wine. I soon found, however, that it was a perfect match for our spicy dishes (grilled salmon with mango/cilantro sauce and chicken/green chiles stew) at Flo's Cafe and Bar on West Chicago Avenue in Chicago. The wine was riper and fruitier than any Malbec I've had but it provided a perfect background for the hot, spicy flavors. Ripe, ripe blackberries, raspberries, cherries and currants with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg--wow! Like fresh berries, ripened and warm in the sun; like a fruit cobbler fresh from the oven. The heat opens up the concentrated smells and flavors of the berries and creates a whole new dimension of rich flavors.

A bottle of this Malbec was only $18 on the wine list. And it undoubtedly can be found for less than $8 retail. I plan to buy more.

As for Flo: a truly remarkable place to eat. We usually go there for breakfast or brunch--Southwest-oriented frittatas and egg dishes. But the dinner entrees showed a truly gifted touch. For two dinners, a bottle of wine, a shared dessert, tax and tip: less than $70.

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