‘Tis the season for… Malbec?

‘Tis the season for… Malbec?

In Australia we have reverse seasons to the ‘traditional’ Northern Hemisphere Christmas. It’s a force of habit in our family to enjoy wintry films and sing about snow falling when in fact it might be 25 or 30 degrees Celsius outside. Perhaps we were born in the wrong hemisphere, or we’re victims of our own yearning for cosiness. So now when the northern hemisphere regions like Europe and the US are stretching their legs and fishing the bathers out of the closet, we’re putting on coats here in little Tasmania and watching the last of the Autumn leaves wither in the green, damp parks. We also reach for the red wines when the days get shorter.
            I’m sure we’re not different in this regard. But where we may differ is in the type of wine we reach for. Recently, I’ve been reaching for the Malbec. That is, to an obsessive degree. It’s easy to be drawn into this world of new wine interests, where you find yourself chasing a grape down a rabbit hole and coming out the other side slightly perplexed. What was it again that you loved about it? You need to hit the reset button. Remember those initial taste sensations.
            A great south American restaurant near us* has been featuring Malbecs for the last month, which was marked on 17 April by World Malbec Day. This was like the beginning of my own feliz año nuevo. So far, so good with the Malbecs, and there are a number that deserve your attention if you are a red-lover and are ready to embrace something slightly different. Though, really, this isn’t so different. Malbec came to Argentina from France so it’s old world credentials are well set. It’s made on its own in the Bordeaux and Cahors regions but in the former, it is generally blended with traditional Bordeaux varieties.
An overview of the general winemaking regions in Mendoza

A clearer perspective on the subregions of Mendoza, Argentina

In Argentina, Malbec has found its natural home in the Mendoza region but its also important to realise that Mendoza is a huge region, covering some 350,000 acres or 144,000 hectares. Like Argentina itself, it covers diverse natural landscapes and so the differences between the main subregions of Maipu, Uco Valley (which stretches out much of the length of Mendoza, and Lujan de Cuyo can be quite pronounced. The two wines I fell most for were the La Posta Paulucci Malbec 2015 and the Colomé Estate Malbec 2013.

            La Posta use a group of fantastic, experienced growers to bring their wines to life. The wines are usually named after their growers, hence why my favourite La Posta at the moment is grown by Angel Paulucci, a passionate Italian who grows his Malbec in Ugarteche in southern central Mendoza, within the well-known Lujan de Cuyo DOC. Paulucci broke with his Italian roots and moved to Argentina in 1953, and in 1960 planted his first vines. His vines are minimally irrigated, tightly-spaced, and grown on significant limestone soils. The retro-looking bottle sucks you into a different world, a different time – like when Angel is known to jump into his 1933 Model A Ford. The vines also have significant age, more than 40 years now.
Angel Paulucci, whose wines make up the La Posta Paulucci Malbec 

            This wine shows a bold and lush nose of cherries, blue fruits, and red fruits, and a real floral high-note. The oak is there but is choc-vanilla-ish in taste, not a turn off at all, rather nice in fact. It’s a medium-bodied wine, with a lush, round finish, bursting with pleasing berry, oak, and pan-juice, barbecue type flavours. Argentinians and their beef are a match made in heaven for this wine. Eat it with a big Italian dish or some barbecued meat and you will be kicking your shoes off and settling in for a beautiful bottle of wine. La Posta Paulucci Malbec 2015, 3.5 stars.

The Colomé Estate Malbec that I've loved recently

            My other favourite at the moment is produced by Colomé Estate Malbec 2013. Not only is Bodega Colomé the oldest working winery in Argentina (founded 1831), it’s also located at the highest altitudes of winegrowing in Argentina, at 1700-3111m above sea level. All this makes for a rarified wine of unique quality and appeal. Made from 100% Malbec (like the Paulucci), the Colomé comes in at 14.5% alcohol. Located in the Calchaqui Valley, this vineyard is both unique and pristinely-located, with the grapes for this wine coming from vineyards located up to 2600m above sea level. The wine sees 15 months in French oak, and rested in bottle for 6 months thereafter. It’s tight, serious wine, with a ripe hit of fruit that exhibits a raspberry edge and a big undercoat of black fruit. This is so aromatic and perfumed. It’s got a liveliness that you also find in the Paulucci – not overdone, but extremely vivacious. Such a unique character here. Coming from a blend of estates at varying altitudes, the wine exhibits those characters that comes with scaling the mountainous, rugged regions. Colomé Estate Malbec 2013, 4 stars.

Both wines come highly recommended and I hope as the weather closes in (for my southern Hemisphere readers) or it warms up and you get outdoors (for the northerners!) you embrace these or other Malbecs and experience the unique taste that Argentina can impart to wine grapes of this sort. Enjoy!

*Frank Restaurant, Hobart - find them here.
You can find La Posta here and Colomé here.

Cheers,

David

1 comments:

  1. Most families have some habits of enjoying and pretending the weather to be coming before time. I think its a good practice. By the way its nice collection of wine you have shared.

    ReplyDelete

 

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I think I was captured by how essentially natural or organic the whole process of winemaking is. It's farming, it's viticulture, it's weather and soil, and many more things. It's the winemaker. But after all these things, after the cap is unscrewed or the cork popped, I (and you) get to enjoy it. Then we talk about it and learn some more. Which is, I guess, the reason why you're here! Here you'll find stories, links, wine education samples and wine reviews. I am entirely independent and my wine reviews and ratings are based on my own thoughts and opinions. I accept no endorsements for products or good reviews. Enjoy! I can be reached for comments, feedback and questions at dbtaylor01@gmail.com. Good drinking to you! David

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