In recent editions of both Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, the industry’s highly regarded critics rave about the superb quality emerging from the valleys of Argentina’s wine country. Dramatic increases in imports over the past couple of vintages now rank Argentina fourth among wine exporters into the United States. This is largely a result of American consumers having fallen in love with the wines, not only for their tremendous price-quality ratio, but also as a result of the Argentines darling grape, Malbec. Fans of intense aromas and flavors of fresh, dark berries, violets and pepper, and deep, firm structure will simply fall in love with this grape.
After time spent studying in Florence and becoming thoroughly knowledgeable about Sangiovese and its central-Italian brethren, I found new world wines, specifically Malbec, to be extremely appealing. Traditional Tuscan wines have a marked acidity and, depending on age, a tea, spice, and tobacco quality that, after a long period of time, can be quite tiresome. By the time I came back to the states, I yearned for a wine with super-dark primary fruit, supple tannin and a silky mouthfeel. A well-made Argentine Malbec conveys these qualities with the best of them while still conveying a true sense of place at the same time.
Listed below are some of my recent favorites…
Benmarco 2007 Mendoza Malbec, $21
Luca 2007 Altos de Mendoza Malbec, $38
Viña Cobos 2006 Bramare Malbec Lujan de Coyo, $42
Ctena Zapata 2005 Mendoza Malbec Alta, $46
Ernesto Catena 2005 Mendoza Malbec Tahuan, $20
Ernesto Catena 2003 Mendoza Malbec Siesta, $27