Value seeking leads buyers to malbec

October 14, 2009 at 10:20 pm (For the Love of Wine, Uncategorized)

Looks like malbec is making waves all over the world, including the southern coast of Oregon! The following is a newspaper article from The World praising Argentinian malbec for its value and its taste.

Value seeking leads buyers to malbec

By Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

Don’t look now, but malbec is gaining ground.

Once grown extensively in Bordeaux, this often overlooked and fickle grape variety has put Argentina on the map in recent years. So how could a grape variety rejected by the French flourish in Argentina? Did the French miss the boat on this one?

Malbec remains one of the five noble varieties permissable in the Bordeaux, although it is rarely blended in the top growths. A black grape, malbec is less durable than merlot and is often subjected to disease and mildew. Although the Bordelais gave up on it years ago, it manages to do well in the lesser known French region of Cahors.

The soil and climate is different in Argentina’s fertile Mendoza region, however, and the American consumers world search for value wines has led to a sharp increase in malbec sales. It is here where malbec is in its best form: rich raspberry and cassis flavors, soft tannins, complex, spicy and ageworthy. Not surprisingly, it is the wine locals drink with their famous beef.

Here are some of our favorites:

Alamos Malbec 2008 ($11). Ripe black berry and raspberry fruit with generous floral aromas and a hint of black pepper and leather.

Gascon Malbec 2008 ($14). Deep color, full body, dense blackberry, blueberry and plum flavors, rich mouthfeel and fine tannins. Touch of vanillin oak. Excellent.

Bodega Norton Malbec Reserva 2006 ($18). Wow, this is a nice, fruity wine with rich raspberry and blackberry fruit, good earthy texture and long finish.

Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Angelica 2004 ($36). One of the best and most serious malbecs, Catena has a giant here with violet and dark berry aromas, plum, blueberry flavors and firm tannins.

Bodega Lurton Reserve ($14). Classic dark color, smooth tannins and generous floral aromas followed by black berry and plum flavors with a good touch of oak.

Other wines

Abadia Retuerta Rivola 2006 ($15). An excellent value from Spain, this blend of tempranillo (60 percent) and cabernet sauvignon has rich dark berry flavors, medium body, good weight and a big dose of vanilla.

Tommaso Canali Trentino Pinot Grigio 2008 ($23). Good body and complexity for a pinot grigio, this wine has citrus and apple flavors with a crisp finish. Blended with a little chardonnay.

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia 2006 ($30). Fruity black currant and black cherry nose with a hint of cedar. Big cherry flavors with chocolate and cedar notes. A well priced tour de force from winemaker Peter Gago.   

Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley 2006 ($35). Raymond consistently produces classic Napa cabs that display clean pure fruit flavors in wines that are sure to please. Lovely cherry cassis flavors in a mild oak frame. Great value for the money.   

Nuar Tenuta Rapitala Sicily 2005 ($17). This wine packs a lot of complexity in a glass for a modest price. Dried cherries and leather in the nose, with flavors of dried cherries, plums and violets in the mouth. Would be a delicious accompaniment for many Italian dishes.

Clif Bar Winery Gary’s Improv. Syrah Napa Valley 2006 ($35).Very intensely flavored syrah with berry, cherry and mocha flavors. The 15.4 percent alcohol gives this wine plenty of body and punch, but the alcohol doesn’t overwhelm. Fun to drink by itself, or with beef dishes.        

Concannon Sauvignon Blanc Central Coast 2008 ($13). A delightfully refreshing sauvignon blanc with a citrus nose, and citrus, melon, and grassy flavors in the mouth. All stainless steel, which helps retain the crisp acidity.

Link to Original Article

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