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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Septima Is Lucky Number For This Argentine Cabernet

Septima Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Argentina

Cost: $13-15

I have loved wines from Argentina for more than 25 years, and I am surprised by the number of wine drinkers who say they don’t know much about South American wines.

Good wine is made in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru and Bolivia, but Argentina leads the way with 45 percent of the wine produced in South America. And like the 2017 Septima Cabernet Sauvignon ($13-15), many of these wines are great bargains.

Argentine cabs are especially good bargains when you compare them to California and French cabs. If you have had a wine from Argentina, odds are it was a malbec because that is the best known varietal in Argentina. The malbecs are wonderful, but don’t overlook the cabs.

In fact, don’t overlook any South American wines. So far, there are no tariffs on on those wines, so they will continue to be great values compared to European wines.

Grown in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, the Septima cab is loaded with luscious fruit flavors. A deep ruby in the glass, it has inviting aromas of berries, black pepper, spices, tea and peaches.

It is a well-balanced wine with smooth tannins and a long finish. Rich, intense flavors of black plum and black cherry give the wine a warm feeling, making it a perfect wine for those cold winter nights we have had recently.

The grapes were hand picked and cold macerated at 50 degrees for 3-4 days. Fermentation with selected yeasts then lasted five more days at 77 degrees. The wine later went through malolactic fermentation and was aged for six months in stainless steel tanks. Fifteen percent of the wine was also aged in new French oak barrels.

Besides cabernet sauvignon, Septima produces malbec, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and rosado de malbec.

Winery: Bodega Septima is owned by the Codorníu-Raventos group based in Spain. The estate was purchased in 1999 and a new winery built in 2001. “Septima” means seventh in Latin, and the winery was the seventh in Codorníu-Raventos’ portfolio.

This 750-acre estate is in the Lujan de Cuyo sub-region of Mendoza, a region that produces 75 percent of Argentina’s wine. The 250 acres of vines lie more than 3,400 feet above sea level.

The estate is planted with malbec, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo grapes. Harvesting takes place between February and April. Septima’s fermentation room contains stainless steel tanks and 400 Bordeaux barrels for aging wine, with plans to increase the number of barrels to 1,500.

The vines surround the winery, much like the old French Chateaux style. This, in turn, minimizes the amount of time it takes to transfer the grapes from the field to the winery in order to preserve the quality of the grapes.

Septima’s building was designed by the Mendoza architects Eliana Bórmida and Mario Yanzón, closely following the principles used by the region’s ethnic groups for centuries. Natural Andean stone was shaped and laid to build the winery.

At the moment Septima has three wine lines: varietals, coupage wines and reservas. The winery has storage capacity for 1,200,000 bottles although at present production is about 450,000 bottles.

Codorníu is a family-owned wine producer that traces its origins back to the 16th century and which, in 1872, was the first to introduce cava in Spain. It probably is best known for its production of cava, or sparkling wine. In its history of almost 500 years Codorníu has remained in the hands of one family, taking the legacy of Jaume Codorníu and turning it into one of the world’s most important wine companies.

The Codorníu Group produces quality cavas and still wines and is composed of 11 wineries, including Artesa in Napa Valley.

Goes with: We had this classic cab with a delicious lasagna. Making lasagna is a lot of work, so I usually go with a frozen Stauffer’s lasagna, but this was home made by a friend.

Bob made this for our men’s meeting at my church, and there were leftovers, so I took a couple of large pieces home for dinner the next night. It was exquisite. Bob said it was a recipe from a Miami restaurant where he had worked. It had several layers of pasta and melted cheese, with fantastic herb seasoning. I didn’t bring any sauce home, but we used some sauce from a jar and it was great.

The combination of cheese, pasta and sauce matched perfectly with the soft, warm Septima cab. The wine didn’t overpower the lasagna, but seemed to bring out more flavor.

The wine would pair well with just about any pasta dish in a red sauce, roasted meat, rich stews and mature cheeses.

If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at dennis@bottlereport.com

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