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Friday, April 24, 2009

I still can't fully grasp Malbec....can you?

Malbec for me is a strange varietal. I've probably tasted around 50-100 different Malbecs in my time in the wine business (which for some is nothing, but for most normal people it's a lot). I've come across a few that were pretty great, but I have to say the majority of them have been somewhat disappointing. I find that too many Malbecs in the twenty dollar and below price point are dull, overly rustic, chucky tannined, and somewhat disjointed wines. Maybe I have a less than discerning palate and I'm just missing the boat, but I have to say that I really can't grasp what this varietal is all about yet. The voluptuousness of a ripe Cabernet Sauvignon is far too appealing to turn down for the rusticity and grit of a Malbec.

I would love any recommendations of good single varietal Malbec for under $20!!


Emzaria said...

We have a couple of rich, fruit foward Malbecs from Boutique bodegas in Argentina that are great to pair with food and easy to drink with lots of cherry and plum notes. Under $20 there is the Otello Malbec, Prodigo Malbec, and Santos Beck Malbec.

Between $20-$30 you achieve more complexity and interesting notes found in the Malbec varietal. Fruit driven but with intriguing notes that range from coffee and toast to eucalyptus and blackberry conserve.

If you would like any other recommendations let me know. For our full selection of boutique Argentine wines check out our website

Benito said...

Almost all of the Malbecs I've had were under $20, but I've found that distribution here in the US varies a good bit around the country.

I think you get better quality out of a $10 Malbec than a $10 Cabernet Sauvignon (or worse, a $10 Pinot Noir). The latter two grapes really start to shine at the $20+ price point while often being brash or sour at lower prices. An inexpensive Malbec, while not the most complex wine, is at least soft and balanced enough to be a fun companion to a grilled burger or a roasted leg of lamb.

There are similar red bargains in the south of France, but Argentine labels are easier to understand for American customers.

Unknown said...

Lately I've been enjoying 2006 Pasqual Toso Reserve. With a case discount they've been coming around $16. Tried 2007 La Posta Angel Paulucci Malbec, found it weak.

thomas said...

Thanks for all the wonderful comments and recommendations. One thing I will not do is close my mind on these wines. I just have had trouble finding Malbec I truly enjoy. I will report back on my findings!

Anonymous said...

Malbecs are one of my favorites ... but not the only.

Catena is a big producer (Alamos is the lower cost label).

Don Gascon is a $10-12 one I've liked in the past.


Megan said...

Santa Julia 2008 Malbec has been our favorite.. 12$$ usually. We just had the 2009 and I did not find that I liked it as much. The 2008 was quite fruity and fresh. This is an organic wine.