The World Goblet Round 2: South Africa vs. Argentina

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While scanning the World Cup groups in order to plan our daytime drinking over the next month, Gut Check noticed that most of the great wine-producing nations are represented in the tournament field, including all of those with a reputation for crafting good, value-priced wines. Because Gut Check never saw a value we didn't like, we resolved to stage our own tournament to determine the 2010 World Goblet Champion.

A battle of first-round losers, both sorely in need of a victory to have a chance of moving on, and both represented here by their nation's signature red grape varieties: malbec for Argentina, pinotage for South Africa.

To view all 2010 World Goblet matches to date, click here...

Next: Let the quaffing commence!

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Dave Nelson
2008 Pascual Toso Malbec Mendoza Argentina ($11)
A surprise straight out of the bottle: This wine is a deep, clear, dark red. Translation: It's not inky purple! The aroma's complex, an intriguing combo of cranberry, cherry, earth and spice. The balance carries through to the flavor, a medium-bodied blend of fruit, acid and tannin, all in sensible proportions, all nicely integrated. You could eat this with practically anything in the red wine food pyramid.

2007 Ernst & Co. Pinotage Coastal Region South Africa ($11)
There's real color here too, a touch darker than the malbec. An initial whiff doesn't supply much, but after an odd vinyl note comes wild cherry, plum and a touch of lightly toasted oak. This is a wine that tastes just like it smells, though a boost of residual sugar causes it to leave a lingering impression of sweetness. While the sugar undoubtedly beefs up the body and the fruit, it hurts a wine's food-friendliness.

Result: Argentina

This one ended up as lopsided as a match between the two nations' soccer teams would likely be. Argentina showed up with what was easily the finest, most complete red wine we've seen in this competition, against which the poor pinotage didn't stand a chance.

While malbec is of French origin, and still seen there (especially in inky, ageless Cahors), pinotage is something else completely. It's a cross between pinot noir and cinsault, a red variety from the south of France that is often included as a bit player in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Group A Standings:

Country

W

L

T

Pts

Portugal

1

0

0

3

Spain

1

0

0

3

Argentina

1

1

0

3

South Africa

0

2

0

0



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