Trapiche Medalla Malbec 2016, Argentina
Cost: $24-26
S ome wineries are known for certain wines. When that is the case it is always good to try the famous wine first. It’s usually their best wine, and if you like it you can move on to other offerings.
Trapiche is known for world-class malbec at several price points. They make many good wines that I have enjoyed over the years, but nothing beats their malbecs. Argentina is the world’s largest producer of malbec and Trapiche sells more of it than any other winery.
The Trapiche Medalla Malbec ($24-26) is in the mid price range for Trapiche wines, but it tastes like a more expensive wine. Even the less expensive Trapiche malbecs are wonderful wines, so it’s hard to imagine how good their $50 malbec must be.

This wine would be great with all kinds of July 4 meals, from cookouts to picnics to lake trips. I think it would be great with cold fried chicken.
The Medalla starts out an intense purple color in the glass with intense cherry and plum aromas. The first sip will fool you. I was expecting a much more in-your-face wine, but it is creamy, smooth and easy to approach, almost sweet.
Don’t misunderstand me; this is a dry red wine, but the tannins are so smooth and integrated you get a different taste sensation than you do with a cabernet sauvignon or a Bordeaux blend. Blackberry and cassis flavors mix with oak notes, but everything is so smooth and balanced you don’t think about the individual components.
This is a medium to full-bodied wine with a long, smooth finish. It is 100 percent malbec with the grapes sourced from estate vineyards in Tupungato, Uco Valley, situated between 3,500 and 4,000 feet above sea level.
After fermentation the wine spends 18 months in new French oak barrels.
The first release of Medalla was in 1983, to mark Trapiche’s 100th anniversary, Medalla was Argentina’s first premium wine.
I was glad I had decided to chill this wine slightly because the back label recommends serving it at 60-64 degrees.
The huge Trapiche firm, the largest wine producer in Argentina as well as one of the country’s oldest, has built a strong reputation for high-quality inexpensive wines as well as for their high-end vineyard-designated malbecs. Quality has been on the rise since the company installed the talented Daniel Pi as chief winemaker and enologist in 2002, and the firm’s geographic reach has expanded as well. 

Winery: Trapiche is located in Mendoza, Argentina at the foothills of the Andes Mountains. It was founded when Tiburcio Benegas bought property in Mendoza in 1883.
There was a small vineyard on the land he bought, and he named it El Trapiche. The word means sugar mill, or cane mill, or in Chile a crude grinding mill. So perhaps there was a mill on the property.
The vineyard was passed on to his son and grandsons before it was sold in 1971. It is now owned by a large firm.
It is Argentina’s largest exporter of premium wines, exporting to 80 countries. It owns about 2,500 acres of prime vineyards and contracts with more than 200 growers. With the investment company behind it, Trapiche regularly invests in new technology, buying the best equipment to get maximum results.
Trapiche has gone to extremes to produce natural wines, using a process called biodynamics that uses no chemicals, herbicides or fungicides. The process aims for a balanced ecosystem, biodiversity and the recovery of the bacterial activity in soil. The only fertilizers allowed are vegetable and animal wastes from bio-dynamic farms.
This approach for vineyards assumes that the moon cycles and the planetary positions influence vine growth, similar to their influence on the tides. So all the work in the vineyards is planned taking into account the different moon phases and the stellar dynamics.
Biodynamics usually results in richer wines and vineyards that don’t get worn out and depleted soil.
Trapiche produces more than 3.5 million cases of wine per year and is available in more than 80 countries. Featuring four tiers of wine, Trapiche offers something for every wine drinker—from entry level varietals to world-class single vineyard wines.
Their wines include malbec, torrontes, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, viognier, moscato, pinot grigio, rosé, pinot noir, syrah, bonarda, a red blend and merlot.
Goes with: We had this lovely wine on another night when I didn’t feel like cooking. There seem to be a lot of these nights as we head into summer.
I had pizza from Giuseppe’s, my favorite Augusta pizza and my wife Teri had an eggplant parmigiana sub. We both thought the wine match was great.
Teri even commented on how smooth the wine was as she helped me finish the bottle. She doesn’t usually have more than one glass of red wine, so I knew this was a special wine.
The ripe fruit flavors in the wine were perfect for the eggplant and the sausage and tomato pizza.
To me, pizza is one of those perfect foods that I could eat any time. In fact, I’m sure I could live on pizza, burgers, hot dogs and soup and be very happy. I know that’s not a very sophisticated palate, and I’m not sure how long I’d live, but I’d be happy.
This delicious wine would pair well with any of my perfect foods as well as all kinds of meat on the grill, fried chicken, pasta and tomato sauce, grilled Portobello mushrooms and just about any kind of cheese.
Trapiche offers a recipe for chicken fajitas, which I haven’t tried yet, but which sound delicious.
[box] Chicken fajitas
2 cups lemon-lime soda
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 cups bell pepper strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cumin, salt, and pepper to taste
8 flour tortillas, warmed
vegetable oil Directions
In a medium bowl, mix together soda, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Place chicken in a 13×9-inch pan, pour marinade over top, and cover. Place in fridge; marinate for at least 2 hours (overnight is recommended).
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat, add peppers and onion to skillet, cook until tender, and then remove from pan.
Drain marinade and set aside; place marinated chicken in pan. Heat over medium-high heat for seven minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup of remaining marinade, cover, and let simmer until liquid evaporates.
Add peppers and onion to skillet; stir on low heat until hot. Serve with warmed tortillas and desired toppings. Serves 4[/box]
If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at

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