The World Goblet Round 1: Argentina vs. Portugal

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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.

Two World Cup favorites meet in this competition -- and here both are decided underdogs. Argentina is relatively new to the world wine stage but over the past decade has produced a veritable river of values both red and white. The South American stalwart has done so with malbec (red) and torrontés (white) grapes, which are scarce in every other wine-producing land. Then there's Portugal, whose dry wines have long been overlooked in favor of its famed fortified wines.

Today brings a battle of signature whites: Portugal's zippy, fresh vinho verde and Argentina's floral, intense torrontés.

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

Next: On to the match!...

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Dave Nelson
2009 Aveleda Fonte Vinho Verde Portugal ($8)
Only a tinge of green and a slight effervescence clue you in that there's something in your glass. That and the aromas, a beguiling blend of limes, cool rocks after a rain and flowers. Light and lively with citrus flavor backed with rocky, mineral notes. Enough bubbles to effectively scrub the palate and add unexpected length to the finish. Delicious.

Pair this wine with dishes that bring a little heat -- Thai, maybe, or Mexican.

Maipe Torrontés Salta Argentina ($8)
Another extremely pale wine, with just slightest hint of gold. The scents are assertive, a mix of jasmine, roses and ripe peaches. Torrontés has a love-it-or-hate-it aroma -- one person's bold and distinctive is another's dime-store perfume. Either way, the nose is the highlight of this wine. The promised fruit and flowers don't appear, only a nutty bitterness. It's full-bodied, but so what? Nothing lingers on the tongue -- the wine simply evaporates into nothingness -- but maybe that's just as well.

Result: Portugal

This matchup turned out far more lopsided than we'd expect from these two nations if the sport were soccer and not wine. A pretty smell is all well and good, but wine is ultimately for drinking.

Group A standings

Country

W

L

T

Pts

Spain

1

0

0

3

Portugal

1

0

0

3

Argentina

0

1

0

0

South Africa

0

1

0

0


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