This ‘Bodega’ begs for something more

This one earned a half glass.

Even if my eyesight was good enough to read the tiny italic letters on the label of the Bodega Privada 2010 syrah, my Español probably wouldn’t be good enough to translate. I’d like to think it says something like “a dark, mysterious wine that is an interesting departure from traditional reds.”

To be honest, I didn’t fall in love with this Argentinian wine from the first sip. It’s a bit standoffish right out of the bottle, with an initial bite and relatively little fruit to invite exploration.

Captain Jack Sparrow likes him some syrah

The cool piratey bottle may be the best part of this wine.

The aroma betrays every bit of the 13.9% ABV, making this a very heady wine that seems almost unapproachable at first. But a little time in the glass reveals a rounder nose that, quite frankly, offered more than this wine could deliver.

The color is nearly black, with a rim of cranberry. It has long legs, and a dry, peppery finish that only grows slightly more complex as the bottle empties. Currant would be the closest thing to a berry flavor that I would impute to this wine. It carries more of an earthy flavor that may disappoint those accustomed to the more varied notes expected from a syrah.

We picked up this bottle at Grocery Outlet during their 20% wine sale a while back for under $6. The frosted black bottle and scroll-inspired label combined for an interesting presence on the wine rack. It looks like a prop from a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and how can that not be cool?

But despite the exclusive sounding name — Private Cellar (hey, my Español isn’t THAT bad) — this is really just your basic table wine, a vino tinto for the masses. It’s made by RPB S.A. of Mendoza, Argentina, a winery started in 1959 by Rufino Baggio. It has become one of the three largest wine producers in the country, but wine is only part of Baggio’s business empire. He’s like the Argentinian love child of Julio Gallo and Joe Albertson. The guy has more products than Paul Newman.

Turns out that mass production of consumer commodities like jugo de naranja and soda pop might not be the best path to making excellent wine. The 2010 Bodega Privada syrah isn’t bad, but the next time I venture out for some Argentinian vino, I might stick with the malbec that country is best known for.

Aromatique: Berry notes, but one-dimensional.

SipQuips: Earthy, with hints of dry currant; sharp at first, but mellows a bit.

Kitchen Couplings: Something hearty — beef, strong cheese perhaps, but nothing overly spicy as the wine is peppery enough. One reviewer recommended serving with lamp. I assume they meant lamb, although it’s a Thai website, so that could be short for lamprey, I suppose. Or maybe they meant you should leave the light on.

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