An Affair of the Palate
My adoration for South American wines may have gone too far this time
I returned home from a recent hiking trip to find my wife waiting on the doorstep with her arms crossed. She held a piece of notebook paper between her fingers. "Who’s Mabel? And please explain her lovely assets to me." Mabel? Assets? I felt guilty for no reason. "I don’t know any Mabels." I had nothing to hide.
"Then why are you writing love letters to her?" She waved the piece of paper in the air. "I found this on your desk!"
I read my handwriting:
My life opened up like a flower bathed in sunlight, while your fruits passionately washed over my disillusioned palate. There they were: your two magnificent parts, your lovely assets — body and character — fluttering in the wind next to an open window of pleasure and discovery. You have ruined me, with your luscious body and Latino- accented whispers; you taste as good and juicy as plums ripe enough to fall from a tree. You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that is so fitting with your beauty. Above all else I love that inner beauty about you, Malbec.
Now I understood. This wasn’t a love letter to a Mabel, but rather my notes on Argentine malbecs. I explained it to her: "Darling, these are my wine tasting notes. You know how I get carried away."
Her arms remained folded. "You’d better have been hiking in the mountains or you’re dead to me."
"Malbec, not Mabel," I assured her. We went inside and opened a bottle, and she saw why I’d lost my head.
Want to get carried away too? Here are a few great, inexpensive South American wines.
2008 Punto Final Malbec Bodega Renacer, Argentina
It features a dark garnet color, black cherry and plum fruits, and a good, clean finish.
$12, Arthur’s at SouthPark, 704-366-8610
2007 The Flying Winemaker Cameron Hughes Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile
This wine is made from several vineyards in the Maipo Valley. It features a good, deep purple color, plum fruits, and respectable tannins. $12, Harris Teeter
2008 Palo Alto Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere/Syrah, Chile
A deep purple color, this wine is dense and full bodied with plum fruits and good, firm tannins. $13, Harris Teeter