By Jamie Drummond

Earlier this week I sat down with the delightful Celeste Pesce who makes wine at Luca, one of Argentina’s most respected boutique labels.

And as it happens, three of Celeste’s wines are being released through Vintages on Saturday May 29th.

2008 Luca Chardonnay Uco Valley Mendoza Argentina – LCBO Vintages 167338 $28.95
While it is true that this is an unashamedly modern take on the C word, this wine is an near perfect exercise in equilibrium. The nose shows off some delicious spicy French oak characteristics (Twelve months in 30% new) alongside a plethora of tropical fruits. For me the crowning glory is on the palate: following a surprisingly sweet attack intense fruit couples with splendid acidity to produce a round, rich mouthfeel with the crispness that one would expect from a much leaner example of this varietal. An extremely well-crafted, confident, fuller-bodied wine. Celeste’s suggestion for the perfect food match is enjoying this with beef empanadas or squash ravioli.

2008 Luca “Laborde Double Select” Syrah Uco Valley Mendoza – LCBO Vintages 167346 $23.95
Celeste’s personal favourite of the three wines we tasted together. Coming from ungrafted old vines (as does most of the fruit finding its way into the Luca range) this Syrah is really rather good and worth every penny. The nose is immensely aromatically complex with buckets and buckets of black berry fruit spiked with star anise, mocha, and cracked pepper. The palate is very accessible with tasty sweet and supple tannins. Damn good juice and dangerously easy to drink. Celeste suggests enjoying this with beef stew (remember they eat a lot of beef in Argentina!) Personally I would lean towards her second suggestion of richly flavoured barbecue ribs.

2008 Luca Malbec Uco Valley Mendoza Argentina – LCBO Vintages 166298 $31.95
Upon first observation of the glass of wine’s inky blackness I was honestly expecting the kind of over extracted “Monster” wine that I run a mile from. I was however pleasantly surprised at this wine’s combination of muscle and finesse. A million light years away from the inexpensive Malbec that has flooded the market over the past five years or so, this bottling takes the grape to a new level. The bouquet is all about enticing and sensual exotic spices adding complexity to the intense dark, brooding fruit. The palate does not disappoint… it’s a big wine, but there’s a restraint there that shows both the deft hand of the Winemaker and some perfectly ripe fruit. Celeste enjoys this with a high cocoa content chocolate. I’d be going for some intensely meaty braised beef shanks.

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… and he must remember to send Celeste the piece on Rotundone.