ARGENTINE MALBEC - Printable Version

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- Jerry D Mead - 09-05-1999 03:44 AM

Etchart 1996 "Rio de Playa - Argentina" Malbec ($7) Malbec is one of the five major Bordeaux red grape varieties and it is often used as a blending grape in France and California. But there's something about this grape in Argentine soil. There, it tends to make better wine than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and is more popular with the locals as a result. The fact that it is not as well known here is one reason it can be sold at such bargain prices. This example is a delicious red with mostly berry flavors and hint of something floral (violets?). At once rich and mouthfilling and yet velvety soft. It is a wine that will appeal to Merlot fanciers and might well appeal to folks who think they don't like red wine. Case purchases highly recommended. Rating: 89/96

- Thomas - 09-06-1999 08:57 AM

Trapiche Malbec for Argentina -- same price -- is great too.

Fleichman also, but costs more.

- Randy Caparoso - 09-09-1999 04:23 AM

Sounds pretty wild. Hey, I thought that the K-J group's Mariposa Malbec was pretty decent, if simple, drinking stuff; especially for less than $10. But have any of you tasted Arrowood's Malbec? Pricey, but damn, it's great stuff -- deep, velvety, compact, powerful, clean blackberry flavors without the weight of Cabernet and Merlot varietals.

Going further away from the subject: hopefully we'll all begin to better appreciate the grape as we see better and better Argentinans coming over. Meanwhile, don't forget that the classic style still comes from France's Cahors region. We slow cooked meats (braised short ribs, pork pot roasts, etc.), it's hard to beat ones such as Clos la Coutale (70% Malbec, and the balance Tannat and Merlot) and Domaine Pineraie (approximately 70% Malbec, and the rest Merlot) -- dense, slightly chewey, yet marvelously rounded and soulful black fruit, leather, smoke, and earthy flavors. Both of the cited imported by Kermit Lynch.

- misterjive - 10-05-1999 04:27 PM

I'm glad people are wising up to Argentine Malbec. It is interesting to note that while the Argentines continue to produce Malbecs of exceptional value, the variety has fallen out of favor recently in Bordeaux, with many producers who used to put 2-5% in the blend now leaving it out entirely. I was once told that one of the reasons Malbec was put in Bordeaux was to deepen the color of the wine, as Malbec produces one of the deepest-colored juices around. I asked this source why it was never bottled on its own in France (or is it? if anyone knows of any examples of 100% French Malbec, please let me know), and he replied with a look at once incredulous and pitying. I love the stuff, and as I have said in these webpages to anyone who will listen, the Malbec from Finca Flichman is out of sight, especially given its price-tag of $3.99 a bottle. One more thing: I read in the good ole capitalist rag the WSJ that Flichman Syrah was great for the money, as well, but I have not been able to procure any....

- Jerry D Mead - 10-08-1999 03:05 AM

The French (and U.S.) and Argentine Malbec clones are evidently not the same. So when the French turn up their nose it's on a different grape.

The same applies to Petit Verdot. What we have in the US is more likely Gross Verdot. I have had the opportunity to taste 100% Petit Verdot from Bordeaux and it's nothing like the California version...which is sort of the "Petite Sirah" of Bordeaux...inky black and highly concentrated.

[This message has been edited by Wine Curmudgeon (edited 10-09-99).]