Over the last several years the prominence of Malbec has grown in the United States. South American wines in general get more shelf space than they used to; Malbec is one of the leading growth categories within that. I for one am pretty happy about it. South America has long been a place to look towards for value. The increase in selection also means we're getting more wines in every price range and that makes for more interesting choices. Today I'll look at a value priced Malbec. The 2008 High Note Elevated Malbec was produced by Vista del Sur Winery. Fruit was sourced in Argentina's Uco Valley, which is part of Mendoza. Grapes for this selection were picked from five vineyards; they ranged in elevation fron 3,200 to 5,000 feet above sea level. In addition to Malbec (85%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%), Cabernet Franc (4%), Viognier (2%) and Petit Verdot (2%) are blended in. This wine was aged in French (65%) and American (35%) oak; 24% of the barrels were new. This selection sell for around $12 but proficient shoppers will note that it can often be found for less than $10.
While there is only a small amount of Viognier blended in to this wine, it does wonders for the nose, adding a lovely floral quality. Blackberry, blueberry and vanilla bean are also part of the aromatics. The palate is rich, and tightly wound, with an array of deep, dark berry fruit flavors. The finish has continued vanilla, along with chicory notes and a dollop of lingering minerals. This Malbec has firm but approachable tannins and sufficient acidity. This offering, while tasty on it's own will perform best when matched with rich, full flavored foods.
For a relatively low price point this Malbec offers good flavors and a particularly expressive nose. It's a nice example of the varietal and indicative of the values coming out of Argentina. With BBQ season in full swing, here's one to keep in mind