Malbec tasting in honour of Malbec World Day

By / Wine + Drinks / April 16th, 2018 / 3

Other than the high-end Malbecs from Viña Cobos mentioned in my Malbec World Day story, here are a few other high-quality Argentine Malbecs to explore.

Achval-Ferrer Mallbec Mendoza 2015

Sporting a penetrating , expressive, and fairly complex nose suggesting spicy cedar, violet, graphite, ripe blackberry, and lead pencil, with typical blueberry/blackberry undertones. Very nicely balanced, with well-integrated dark plum, mocha, mineral nuances. Smooth and supple as it trails off, it nonetheless sports a distinctly spicy endnote.

Alamos Malbec 2016

A hint of violets among the ripe dark cherry, and herbal notes. Mid-weight, and fairly elegant with red apple and black cherry flavours and a slight spiciness on the finish. This is a versatile style that will match with a wide range of assertive dishes. Or, of course, beef. Always beef.

Argento Reserva Malbec 2015

Deep, dense purple in the glass, this Reserva Malbec sports aromas of plum, with some mint and vanilla notes as well. Silky and broad on the palate, with flavours of sweet blueberry and plum jam, with supple, silky tannins.

Catena Malbec 2015

The Catena Zapata family is a Malbec pioneer, having been in the Argentina wine business since 1902. So you’d figure it’s pretty good at the game. Turns out it is. This is an intense, expressive Malbec, with a nose redolent of smoked meat, toasted oak, cassis, vanilla and smoky/mineral nuances. Lots of chewy black fruit in the mouth, with a touch of mocha on the finish.

Don David Reserve Malbec 2016

Fruit for this wine is sourced from Argentina’s northern Calchaqui Valley, 1800 meters above sea level (aka: “nosebleed territory”). Lots of smoked meat, wet gravel, rhubarb, dark chocolate, and tobacco leaf. Medium-full, balanced, and tasting of red currant jam, with some sweet and spicy suggestions. The finish is smooth, long, and mildly peppery.

Finca La Escuela La Grava Malbec 2014

Spanish for gravel, La Grava refers to the patch of gravel found within the high altitude vineyard where this Mendoza Malbec is grown. Lots of ripe, juicy blueberry, mineral, violet, and smoke/tar undercurrents. Quite full-bodied and rich, but with enough acidity to balance out the generous fruit. Finishes long, with mineral end notes and a mild tannic dryness.

Fuzion Alta Reserva 2016

The Fuzion brand is – arguably – what put Argentina Malbec on the radar (at least in Canada). The combination of a smooth, seductive, supple style and unbeatable price won over consumers and critics alike. The “Alta” line ups the ante even further. The usual aromatic suspects (blackberry/cherry/plum) are here a long with a dollop or two of vanilla, tobacco, mocha, and black current. Ripe, intensely fruit, and polished – the addition of 40 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon ups the flavour profile.

Luigi Bosca La Linda Private Selection Old Vines Malbec 2015

Fruit for this old vines Malbec is sourced from vineyards situated on Mendoza’s Andes Ridge at over 960 meters above sea level. Smoke, flint, wet slate, mocha and, yes, blueberry jam (blueberry being a recurring Malbec theme) aromas. Very silky and smooth in the mouth, with some cassis and vanilla flavours, and just a wee kick of black pepper on the finish.

Pascual Toso Limited Edition Malbec 2015

This polished Malbec has garnered some serious praise from numerous wine journos and publications. Yeah, yeah…but what do I think? I think you might want to pick up a bottle or three. Nicely put together, with ample ripe blueberry (yep) and vanilla notes wrapped in a slightly spicy, forward fruity, well-balanced package.

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2016

I’ll come clean: I came back from Mendoza thinking that maybe it was time to lay off beef for a long, long time. Don’t get me wrong, it was fabulous meat…but there actually can be too much of a good thing. In any case, if the snow has finally melted off your BBQ, and you’ve found the beef, you might want to pair it with this fresh, fruity (think black cherry, ripe plum, blackberry, etc.), balanced, dark berry/spicy number. Some guy named Robert Parker (or his establishment) scored it 90 points. But most Quench readers are over that sort of thing….

Susan Balbo Signature Rosé 2017

A pretty, pale salmon-coloured Malbec rosé from the Uco Valley. Intense, forward wild strawberry, candy apple, dried herbs, and rose petal aromatics segue to flavours of zesty strawberry, cotton candy, and red apple. Refreshing acidity a great overall balance. A classy rosé in a style that pays more than a passing nod to those from the south of France.

Trapiche Gran Medalla Malbec 2014

I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a “household name” when it comes to wines from Argentina, but the name Trapiche certainly comes close. Select fruit from the winery’s three Uco Valley vineyards are combined in this wine that is aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels. The result is a big, dense, chewy Malbec loaded with dark berry/cherry fruit, traces of floral spice, and dense yet well-balanced mouthfeel.


Tod Stewart is the contributing editor at Quench. He's an award-winning Toronto-based wine/spirits/food/travel/lifestyle writer with over 35 years industry experience. He has contributed to newspapers, periodicals, and trade publications and has acted as a consultant to the hospitality industry. No matter what the subject matter, he aims to write an entertaining read. His book, 'Where The Spirits Moved Me' is now available on Amazon and Apple.

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