Three Thieves Steal Reality TV

thievesI said in yesterday’s post that TV “Wars” are all the rage. The only fad that can top it, is Reality TV.

There are reality TV shows about all sorts of crazy stuff. They run the gamut from bizarre to downright creepy, following characters such as spoiled rich kids, spoiled rich adults, truckers driving very big trucks on very icy roads, people who dwell in swamps, and spoiled rich celebrities.

Personally, I couldn’t care less what any of these people do. But Scripps Network and the Cooking Channel have finally stumbled on a story idea that’s really interesting to me. There is a group of three guys who bottle wine under the Three Thieves label; Joel Gott, Charles Bieler, and Roger Scommegna. Gott is a Napa Valley native (fifth generation Napa, in fact) who has his own eponymous label (fancy word for “named after him”) and has thrown in with the other guys for the Three Thieves project. They chose that name because they “steal” premium surplus wine and bottle it to sell at crazy low prices.

What Joel, Charles and Roger are doing is taking very good advantage of the current oversupply of premium wine. They can buy surplus wine and sell it for a fraction the price it would normally command, so they set out to find great juice from around the wine world.thief

Amador Zinfandel was their first project, and it got great ratings. They moved on to California Cabernet, and hit the jackpot again. Their next project was Argentine Malbec, and that’s what I’m reviewing today.

I have a special interest in Argentine wines, because I lived in Buenos Aires for two years. I’ve traveled the country, and know that it’s an amazingly diverse place (not unlike the USA), and has been making good red wine for centuries. Argentina is red wine country, because they eat beef, beef, bread, and beef. Vegans would starve there…

But MalbecĀ  is Argentina’s special gift to the wine world. While the grape originated in France, it has virtually disappeared there. It has thrived in the Andes foothills of Argentina’s Mendoza region, where vineyards at high altitudes get intense sunlight to ripen grapes and cool temperatures to develop acid and structure. Malbec has indeed become Argentina’s signature grape.

So in honor of the Cooking Channel’s broadcast of the Three Thieves show, I uncorked a bottle of The Show 2009 Malbec. TheĀ  Three Thieves had set out to make an “iconic” Malbec, and the grapes they chose for this wine come from two Mendoza vineyards, both at over 3000 feet elevation.

I think the flavor profile is right on: this wine is no tooty fruity, easy-drinking red. It has substance and character, and needs a little more time to show what it can do. The nose shows tart berries like cranberries, with a little gaminess and floral aromatics. The palate at first showed just tart fruits such as red currant, rhubarb and cranberry. But there’s a deep, dark element too, with a hint of tar, cedar spice and tannin on the finish.

Then I did my “kicker”: I smelled the empty glass. This is a really revealing exercise: the empty glass shows the true essence of a wine. And this one showed rich mocha.

So fast-forward to the next day, when I poured a glass of The Show Malbec with Thai Chicken. The fruit had ripened and softened, and matched well even with the sweet/spicy coconut milk sauce. It was really fun…

I’d suggest you look for the next showing of the Cooking Channel Three Thieves show, grab a bottle of The Show Malbec (or whatever Show wine you can find), kick back and enjoy. Cheers!

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