Alex Elman started out early in her wine career working in sales and production for Perrier-Jouët Champagne. Later, she worked in wine trading with her stepfather and got exposed to the import world. But by the age of 27, she had gone completely blind from complications related to diabetes.
Elman continued working in the wine business, and in 2009 decided to release Argentinean wines under her own label. These bottles shown here represent the first release in the fall of 2010, which also includes a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Braille on wine labels is nothing new, although it's often ignored. Due to space limitations on labels, there's only so much information that you can provide in such a format. Handheld devices combined with QR codes might be a good solution for providing more detailed information in the near future.
On this closeup, the Braille spells out "Malbec", while the other label says "Torrontés", and in case you're curious, the title of this post simply reads "Alex Elman Wines". The labels also show Elman's seeing eye dog Handley, a yellow Labrador. Dogs and wine keep popping up in the oddest places. Some are working dogs like Handley, some keep people company at wine shops and tasting rooms, and others, like mine, alert me to the arrival of new deliveries.
2010 Alex Elman Torrontés
This has light peach and apricot aromas, fresh and subtle rather than jammy or concentrated. The fruit flavors are balanced with low acidity, a round mouthfeel, and a short finish. I'd really like this with some roast pork stuffed with dried apricots and walnuts. Torrontés is a little mysterious, since it's most likely derived from European grapes bred together in California and then exported to Argentina during the Spanish colonial period. It's sort of the white version of Malbec in that Argentina turned out to be a perfect environment for it, while there's little planted elsewhere in the world.
2009 Alex Elman Malbec
If you ever wanted to explain to someone what a basic young Malbec tastes like, this is a great example. It's got a meaty profile with blackberry and ash aromas. Solid dark fruit flavor with medium tannins and a long finish. It's the combination that I remember from the first dozen or so that I tried. Like many Malbecs this will pair with almost any red meat, and don't be afraid to use a full-flavored sauce like reduced red wine and shallots or a stronger marinade like soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
Note: These wines were received as samples.