Malbec is more closely identified with Argentina than any other single grape variety. There's good reason for that; while it’s made elsewhere Malbec absolutely flourishes and reaches its apex there. The wide array of styles in which Malbec is made reminds me of how diverse Zinfandel can be in California. Some choose to make it brash and exuberant while others go for more of a refined and elegant style. Each has its benefits. Not surprisingly Urraca Wines has more acres of Malbec under vine than any other varietal. Cabernet Sauvignon is a close second however. Today I’ll look at one of their Malbec based blends.
The 2005 Urraca Primera is a blend of Malbec (70%) and Merlot (30%). Oak treatment was accomplished with 18 months in a combination of French and American barrels. The suggested retail price for this offering is $37.
I highly recommend decanting this selection if you’re going to be drinking it over the next couple of years. An hour is very helpful, and closer to two hours would be even better. Once it’s had that chance to breathe this wine starts really expressing itself. The intoxicating nose features blueberry, plum and violets along with touches of cedar. There is a terrific purity of fruit through the palate that can not help itself but impress as it is intense, layered and just downright delicious. Black cherries are the most prominent along with additional berry fruits as well as fruitcake spice. Chocolate, hints of pencil lead and plenty of earth emerge on the long, persistent finish. Black and white pepper note linger so long them seem like they’ll never stop coming. This offering has firm tannins and excellent acidity. Roasted meats or game will be a natural match for this blend.
There are several things that impress me about this wine. The intense and pure fruit I mentioned above is one. The other is the fact that this blend is a perfect combination of characteristics. The Malbec shows its hedonistic, brash nature, and the Merlot provides backbone and structure. This is a tremendous wine that deserves and demands attention. Not an offering you want to rush to drink, rather one to contemplate over a nice meal with friends who will be lucky that you shared this Argentine powerhouse with them.