Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why Malbec is good value for money

I'm drinking a tasty Malbec and thought I'd share some knowledge on this classy wine.

The Malbec grape was originally grown in Bordeaux, until the phylloxera wiped it out. Phylloxera is an aphid that wiped out many grape varieties in Europe in late 1800s, which you hear about all. the. time. when you learn about old world wines. It is now still found in Cahors in SW France, but thrives in Mendoza in Argentina. If you're not a Malbec expert, then Mendoza is the region you will most associate with Malbec - and that's a great place to start!

I also just happen to be reading Nathalie McLean's book Unquenchable which also has a chapter on Malbec, so I'm stealing some points from there too...

Both Chile and Argentina produce wines that are well-priced for the quality. They have warm climates (so better crops), cheap land and cheap labour costs, often making theses wines much cheaper than wines from Napa, Tuscany and Bordeaux.

Malbec is a dark tannic wine, that can look inky, but goes very well with steak

TIP: Argentina is hot and dry, which can be difficult to produce good wines. If you want a more structured Malbec, look for high altitude, you'll find more complex flavours and higher tannins. 

Some producers mix high altitude with low altitude (the Andes range from 1200-10,000 feet) to make a blend, similar perhaps to the Merlot-Cabernet blends you find in Bordeaux. One brings the fruit and flesh, the other structure and tannin. I like that this grape can be so versatile.

The wine I'm drinking tonight is inky, has high tannin and tastes like tar, violets and boysenberries. It's called VinAlta from M&S for £8. It's good. It's a shame its not been aged in oak though, I prefer those Malbecs which are far rounder with lush caramel flavours. But oaking the wine probably would have pitched it over the £10 mark.

1 comment: