Ornery bear? Try an ornery five-year-old. A good reason for URBAN UCO MALBEC TEMPRANILLO (2011)

boris the polar bear root canal2284791-184A0070000005DC-599_964x571He looks a lot like my departed friend Glen Bear, but his name is Boris. He must have been more ornery than usual, because when dentists examined him, they determined that he needed a root canal.

Of course, you don’t just peer into a polar bear’s mouth—dental pain or not. Boris was sedated and tranquillized so medics could perform both the examination and the procedure, which required a 10cm hole to be drilled.

If only Miss V could have been sedated and tranquillized today. Her six-month dental check-up ended prematurely with her wailing and covering her eyes as she permitted the dentist one small glimpse into her noisy mouth. Only when she was invited to select a new toothbrush and toy ring (a prize?? OMG, we deserved a prize for listening to the fussing) did she settle down. Yes, V is a total punk when visiting the dentist (and the doctor, and the shopping-mall Santa for that matter). V is a punk, period.

We all deserve a drink. First, for subjecting ourselves to a sad reminder that Glen Bear is no longer here. And second, for listening to a five-year-old caterwauling because someone is trying to shine a light in her mouth. Holy crap, we deserve a drink. What shall we have?

We need something that packs a wallop: URBAN UCO MALBEC TEMPRANILLO (2011). By wallop I mean 14.5% alcohol carried in an inky, intense wave of oak-aged Argentine red wine. At under $15 you’d expect this to be a bit of a gamble. Tempranillo doesn’t always behave itself (what varietal does?), but it can be less forgiving on the palate when its more expressive notes have full rein. That’s why we chose a 50/50 red, although Malbec couldn’t necessarily be expected to supply enough of a fruit burst to balance the leathery, vegetal tang of its blending partner.

urban uco

Truth be told, my dad has an aversion to Tempranillo, so we bought this one while he was away. But my mother had this idea that we wouldn’t get to it, and opted for 50/50 with Malbec just in case we ended up sharing it with Dad. That, I suppose, is what happens in a good marriage, although it seemed a bit bear-abusive to make me wait five days to enjoy this wine.

URBAN UCO spent three months in oak barrels. Slightly tight upon opening, it begs to be decanted, and if you have the discipline, you’ll be rewarded by letting it breathe for 30-45 minutes. If you don’t, your first glass may seem strident—but still agreeable. The nose is deep and smoky, hinting of dark berries and raisins. The reward for waiting (even if you do have the DTs) is an intense, mouth-filling, plummy wine with a savory, lingering finish. URBAN UCO is bold and baritone if you wait long enough, with Malbec’s characteristic earthiness playing against the Tempranillo bitch-slap nuance. I loved it, people, and for the price, we should buy a case.

V is sleeping soundly now (although she yammered only so heartbreakingly when she discovered that her prize ring from the dentist had been forgotten in a public washroom). Although I’d rather take a polar bear to the dentist than V, I’m glad it’s over, and I’m grateful for the excuse to drink URBAN UCO.

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