Argentina: Home of Malbec
Malbec, a wine grape from France, would never have gotten a great reputation without the help of Argentina. Argentina started cultivating malbec in the 1860s and still has ancient vines in the region because Argentina is phyloxxera free (a nasty root louse that ravaged Europe and the US). Find out what makes malbec and the Argentina wine market the fastest growing winemaking region and why these wines will be collector items in a few short years.
3 Tiers of Malbec
$10-$20 Argentina Malbec
Introductory wines of the region. These wines have the basic varietal characteristics of a lush soft wine with dark berry fruit. Described often as tasting of blueberries, vanilla and sometimes tar & smoke, the taste of value-driven malbecs is affected mostly by the winemaker’s style.
Lush, Vanilla and Fruit Forward
Gascon, Altos Los Hormigas, Tapiz, Alamos, Vistalba Corte C, Clos de los Siete (blend), Elsa Bianchi, Zolo, Tilia, Salentein, Punto Final
Rustic, Dark and Smokey
Norton, Pascaul Toso, Terrazas de los Andes, Durigutti, Crios de Susana Balbo, Fincas Don Martino, Altocedro, Bodegas Nieto,
$20-30 Argentina Malbec
This is the sweet spot. Most producers make a reserva of some sort in this range which usually involves longer and newer oak aging (thus the expense) and these wines are big yet well-balanced. Watch for out-of-control alcohol levels in the high 14% range as these wines tend to be overly sweet and will almost guarantee a headache (if you drink like I do).
Atamisque, Piattelli, Altos Los Hormigas Riserva, Gascon Reserva, Pascual Toso Reserve, Tikal, Punto Final Reserva, Catena, Bodegas Colomé “Estate”, Bodega Weinert,
$50-70 Argentina Malbec
These are the flagship wines from the best producers. Typically you’ll see more high-end malbecs used in blends with cabernet sauvignon for remarkable complexity.
Achaval Ferrer, Catena Zapata, Cobos Bramare