One way to drown the sorrows of a horrible Monday Night Football game featuring the disappointing Texans, is to open up a sample bottle of Bonarda direct from Argentina, and pretend that I'm no longer in Houston, but in the cellar of a mysterious and romantic winery down South America way.
Only surpassed by its flagship varietal of Malbec, the second most planted grape in Argentina is Bonarda. The story of Bonarda is complicated and involves several regions in Italy and lots of supposed lies that the Argentine version isn't really "Bonarda," but a varietal known as Charbono, which is actually known as Corbeau in French. Confused yet? Don't worry, me too.
Essentially, Charbono/Corbeau is known as Bonarda in Argentina, but if you look for the grape of that moniker in Italy, you could find up to three separate grapes throughout the country that share the same name.
So, how does the Colonia Las Liebres 2008 Bonarda taste? It's almost black - a deep, dark and opaque maroon with plenty of acidity and some notes of caramel, spice and raisins and a nice, thick mouthfeel. Although it's not oaked, it still has a touch of warmth that rounds out the wine for a soft finish despite the dryness left by the tannins. It's not overly complex, but it's a substantial red for the price of $10 - $12 that will prove much less mediocre than the Texans' flabby offense.
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