Happy World Malbec day!
We missed celebrating World Malbec Day in the country that put Malbec on the map, Argentina, by just two days. But just because we’re in Italy and currently getting our filled of Lazio’s Frascatis and Marinos doesn’t mean that we don’t still have a passion for the grape that Argentina grows so well. As a little tribute, I put together my list of some of my favorites. I really could go on and on, because there are that many great Argentine Malbecs out there, but I’ll keep the list short and simple.
Don’t forget to check out the Variety Focus page on Malbec to learn more about the grape, where it originated, and what its typical flavors and aromas are!
The priciest of all my suggestions, this is also one of the easiest to purchase in the United States. The bodega (winery) boasts that they are the highest rated winery in Argentina, and for good reason: their wines are supple, fruit-forward, full-bodied, and robust, yet incredibly elegant. The bodega produces single vineyard Malbecs that are delicious: each reflects the vineyard that it grows in, and each are quite different. Read more about Achaval Ferrer here.
Bodega del Desierto
Literally in the middle of nowhere (you have to drive at least 120 kilometers to get to anything!!!) this winery truly is a labor of love. Paul Hobbs, famous for his beautiful Cabernet Sauvignons from California and the popular Cobos line in Argentina, is the consulting winemaker for this fairly new winery. Flying all the way to Argentina and then making the trek to La Pampa every two months is not something one would do if they didn’t believe in their wines: one sip of their Malbec explains just why someone would be crazy enough to participate in this winemaking endeavor. Read a tasting note about Bodega del Desierto here.
A softer, more earthy, Old World style Malbec comes from this tiny production in Mendoza. We love to taste a wine that showcases a different style of winemaking; this is definitely a stray from the big, fruit-forward Malbecs that many love and is more subdued and elegant. Read more about the Carmelo Patti Malbec here.
If you can only drink one Malbec and want a true understanding of the grape and the typical Mendoza style, this is it. Good acidity, soft tannins, lots of dark fruits… classic Malbec. Read more in depth tasting notes on the Dona Paula here.
I have written about Durigutti often. I love their wines and am blown away with their affordability! The Durigutti Malbec is a great example of a lush Argentine Malbec with good fruit and soft tannins. As with most others, they use French oak and age the wines for significant time in the barrel: the oak presence adds a beautiful vanilla note to their wines, a gorgeous nose, and more mellow, mature fruits on the palate. Read more about the Durigutti brothers Malbec here.
Mendoza produces 70% of Argentina’s vinos, but the other 30% comes from up-and-coming regions that produce some beautiful wines. The Neuquen region, in Patagonia, is known for its colder temperatures and high winds. Grapes are thicker-skinned to survive these conditions and produce beautiful, more tannic wines with more mature fruit flavors. A full profile of the wine is available here.
I really could go on and on, but I will stop. I encourage each of you to try one of these wines: all are beautiful, albeit very different in styles and flavor profiles.
On another note, I would like to just quickly mention that the one thing I took away from our half year in Argentina was that the country is not just about Malbecs. They have phenomenal Bonardas, Chardonnays, Cabernet Francs, Pinot Noirs, sparkling wines, Torrontes… Argentina is definitely not pigeon-holed into one varietal, and we all owe it to this up-and-coming wine region to recognize its current successes and its future potential. But, since today is it’s “special” day globally, we should all celebrate with a glass!