Today is Malbec World Day so I thought tasting through some Malbecs and finding a couple to recommend was the thing to do. Malbec is planted in a number of different regions in the world but the examples coming from Argentina are the best known to most wine lovers. In many other countries it’s more often used as a blending component with Bordeaux style blends. That said varietal Malbecs in small quantities come from other areas like Chile as well. The Trivento 2011 Amando Sur Malbec was produced from a blend of Malbec (78%), Bonarda (12%) and Syrah (10%). All of the fruit was sourced in the Mendoza region of Argentina in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. This widely available wine has a suggested retail price of $15. Wild strawberry, violets, and red raspberry aromas fill the nose of this Malbec. Red plums, raspberries and cherry are all in stromng evidence along with white pepper, cardamom and a hint of vanilla through the palate. The is a well-balanced Malbec that offer plenty of up front fruit but also backs it up with an even keeled palate of substance and a nice finish that shows off sour cherry and hints of blueberry as well as black tea, pepper notes and good persistence. This Malbec works on its own but really excels with food. Grilled meats and strong cheeses are particularly reccomended.
The Graffigna 2011 Centenario Reserve Malbec was produced from estate fruit. The fruit came from two areas within San Juan Argentina. This is a 100% varietal wine. Barrel aging occurred over 12 months in a combination of French (85%) and American (15%) oak. This wine is available all over the country and has a suggested retail price of $14.99. This wine from Graffigna is a Malbec I’ve been enjoying regularly for the last several years. One vintage after another one of the hallmarks has been its balance and proportion while still providing a nice punch of full flavored fruit flavors. It follows that up with depth and balance. The 2011 vintage is no exception, dark fruit flavors such as plum and blackberry lead the nose. Black cherries and a bit of plum star on the palate along with raspberry and copious spices. The flavors are fruity but never over the top and above all refreshing in nature with crisp acidity. The finish has medium length and reverberates with spices, chicory, and wisps of sour cherry. Graffigna continues to make food friendly wines that are well priced for everyday drinking; they’re well worth your time and money. They have also worked with Riedel to develop a special Malbec Glass, I'll be taking a look at that in an upcoming post.
Happy World Malbec Day everyone! I hope you all get a chance to pick up one of these wines to celebrate this delicious day. Too many examples of Malbec in this general price range are a lot of flash and little substance, here are two well-heeled examples that will be delicious any night of the week with a myriad of foods.