Let’s get right on in with this one. As a wee note (because it’s good for me and my learning), Malbec is the principle grape grown in Argentina. It’s a high yield, strong, thick-skinned grape that can handle the heat of the Argentinian vineyards, and high tannins (from those thick skins) mean it’ll often age well, and can handle itself in the face of hearty, dominant food matches. Malbec produces big flavoured, spicy, dark red wines that are traditionally a perfect match for red meat. Ever had a badass, marbly, rare steak with all the trimmings, and a glass of red wine that just sent you to heaven and back? It was probably a Malbec.
Name: Montflores Estate Bottled Malbec
Vineyard/Country: Mendoza, Argentina
Shop: Marks & Spencer
Colour / Intensity: Medium ruby
Nose: Like being in a fruit garden in the evening after a hot sunny day (honestly). A big, beautiful hit of ripe, dark fruit with this one – particularly blackcurrants, black cherries (think Black Forest Gateaux), and blueberries for a bit of rounded freshness. Initially they just seem super ripe, but they develop a jammy/stewed-ness to them after 10 minutes of air. There’s also some spicy herbiness in there too – fresh chopped tarragon and ground black pepper. A few hints of vanilla, but nothing sickly.
Taste: All those big fruits seem to take a back seat for more of those jammy notes – I got stewed plums, and a reminder of my recent foray into [gooseberry jam.] Generally it was dry, with medium body held up by grippy tannins. The flavours just weren’t as intense as they were on the nose, which was a bit disappointing. High acid and high tannins make me think it could probably use some bottle age to gain some complexity. I sort of wish I’d given it the ‘two years put down’ that M&S suggested.
Rating: 7.5, rising to 8.5 after a day in the bottle
Good for: Normally you’d go for some red meat – a rare steak, say – with a beefy Malbec from Mendoza. That seems like a fair idea here. I had it with a fatty beef mousakka, the acidity and tannins had something to cling on to. A lovely surprise was the Greek yoghurt with stewed black fruit that I’d bought for pudding – the Malbec loved that, and it intensified all those flavours I wanted so much on the palate.
Disclaimer: All of my tasting notes are totally personal, based on what I can smell, taste and savour about whatever it is I’m drinking. They might not match the original tasting notes exactly – I’m ok with that, because this is a space for practising, flexing my tastebuds, and learning more.