This past weekend was a girls’ weekend… and a good one.  One of the things that I adore about wine is that the right wine goes with food AND friends.  The elegant bottle and lovely glasses lend a celebratory air to any table while the simple act of toasting the occasion and clinking stemware reaffirms ties both old and new.

Friends, malbec and Japanese food- life is good!

Friends, malbec and Japanese food- life is good!

This weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to spend much of my time with two grammar school gal pals, Holly and Kimberly.  It’s been thirty-four years, but we still get one another.   On Saturday evening we had dinner together at Yoshi’s in Oakland.  Yum.  Japanese goodness on a plate, or in this case, many plates– we ate a lot!  With dinner Holly and I split a bottle of the 2011 Andeluna Cellars Malbec 1300 Mendoza.  (Kim is not a wine drinker, but she still toasted, so it’s all good.)  Thanks to the Andeluna’s tastiness I shall always remember this meal as, “that delicious sushi dinner we had with the fabulous malbec.”  It will help me cement the sensory impressions of this special time I spent with my dear friends.

Argentina is well-known for its malbecs and some of the best come from Mendoza.  As I have mentioned in a previous column, malbecs are amazing.  Like pinot noirs they are that uncommon red wine that pairs well with a variety of foods (similar to rieslings and sauvignon blancs amongst the white wines), although far more fruit and berry-driven than the pinot.  Japanese cuisine can be a particular challenge to pair wines with as one’s dinner can run the gamut from delicate to complex to spicy flavors.

The Andeluna took on all comers.  It’s an accessible wine– for those just beginning to become acquainted with red wine, here’s your gateway bottle.  There’s enough tannin to add structure and complexity, but in general one is struck by the bright berry and cherry flavors.  This is a very well-rounded malbec with just a hint of spice.  It was really quite lovely, and at about a $13 price point (depending upon the vendor), it’s very affordable, especially for a wine averaging about 87 points by reviewers.  Should you have a bottle at Yoshi’s, they charge $30 which isn’t bad for a really tasty wine at a restaurant.

2011 Andeluna Cellars Malbec 1300 Mendoza, Argentina

2011 Andeluna Cellars Malbec 1300 Mendoza, Argentina

If you wish to purchase a bottle for yourself and aren’t planning on an evening of sushi in Oakland, California, here are a few options:

The Wine Club

Solano Cellars

Both charge around $10, but remember you still have shipping charges.  I shall certainly be purchasing some for my husband and myself.

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her creative contributions to the BBB Blog.