April 17 is World Malbec Day! Or is it Malbec World Day? Or just Malbec Day? Regardless, what are some good Malbecs to try? I was reminded of this event by Jon Staenberg of Hand of God Wine who urges us to celebrate Malbec World Day by saying the good people of Argentina have proclaimed April 17th as World Malbec Day. Over 100 years ago, Malbec was brought from France to the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina where the constant sun and heat helps the grape to ripeness; Malbec thrives in the hot, dry weather and high elevations of Mendoza creating a typically ripe and lush wine with smooth tannins. I met Jon at a Wine Bloggers Conference and there I have had the pleasure of tasting his Hand of God Old Vine Malbec a time or two. Hand of God Malbec is made from vines over 100 years old. It’s quite a doozy–full bodied, full of bramblefruit, and worth every cent of your $75. To celebrate, he is offering a BUY ONE GET ONE HALF PRICE with promo code: MALBEC15 which expires 4.28.15. While Malbec has its roots in France, and has blossomed in Argentina, it is also doing well in Chile. Read a review of Concha y Toro 2011 Gran Reserva Marchigüe, Colchagua Valley Malbec $15 D.O.: Marchigüe, Colchagua Valley, Chile. Last year I posted “7 Reasons I Love Malbec” which included a review of Bodega Norton Riserva from Mendoza, Argentina; in 2013, I posted reviews of several more Malbec (5! most from Argentina and 1 from California) that worth checking out. These wines are all readily available and under $20.
Another Malbec that fits most budgets is Trivento’s 2011 Amado Sur. Awarded 91 points by Wine Spectator, this wine is 78% Malbec, 12% Bonarda, and 10% Syrah providing more complexity. Plenty of red and blue jammy fruits and mint balanced by bright acid and soft oak with a tart cherry finish. This supple wine paired great with the grilled meat, no surprise there, but it also worked well with the strawberries, field greens, chevre, and walnut salad dressed with a gorgonzola/walnut/cranberry dressing.
North American Malbec is also finding an enthusiastic audience, and it is available at a number of price points from grocery store wines to boutique wineries. I have recently had the opportunity to taste the 2010 Malbec from Cairdean Estates in Napa. Color is a deep ruby garnet with a pink rim. With a nose of petrol with hints of graphite, it is fruity, savory, and spicy at the same time. It tastes of raspberries, clove, and cinnamon and leaves your mouth with a soft tannic finish. Rich, nicely warming, and well crafted, this Malbec left us feeling like Cairdean Estate, while relatively new to the scene, knows what they are doing; we can’t to visit their vineyard in Napa to see what other wines they have to offer.
Cairdean is a newer winery in the St Helena area owned by Edwin and Stacia Williams: winemaker Stacia studied eonology at CSU Fresno where Edwin grew up. While the price point for this wine at $40 may seem steep, it’s right on the mark for the quality that you get with this bottle. This wine has a 14.2% alcohol content with a cork closure.
Please join me in raising a collective glass to toast this newly “discovered,” newly beloved versatile and delightful varietal–regardless of where it comes from North or South America! Follow along with the fun on twitter by searching and tweeting using #MalbecWorldDay or is it #WorldMalbecDay?
Note: These wines were provided as samples for my review consideration.