For #MalbecMonth, look to Argentina! Here’s Why and Six to Try

What’s a synonym for Argentine Wine? Malbec!

While yesterday was Malbec World Day, the entire month of April is #MalbecMonth, so you still have plenty of time to enjoy a Malbec from Argentina.

Why April? Malbec from Argentina is celebrated on April 17 because that is the day in 1853 when Argentina’s wine industry transformed by the invitation of French soil expert Michel Aimé Pouget who showed how to adapt French varietals, including Malbec, to Argentina. Malbec World Day was created by Wines of Argentina “to position Argentine Malbec as one of the most prominent in the world. Every April 17th, and throughout the whole month, different activities are carried out in the main cities around the globe to celebrate the success of our flagship grape.”

Five fun facts about MALBEC in Argentina:

  • 37.53% of the red wine grapes planted in Argentina are Malbec
  • 21.40% of the total cultivated area in the country is Malbec.
  • 163%  increase in plantings of Malbec since 2000 (equivalent to 26,653 ha / 65,862 acres)
  • 85% of Argentinean Malbec is grown in Mendoza
  • leader in volume, quality and exports of Malbec since 2011.

Argentina really is THE place in the world that’s dedicated to Malbec. And, as we show below and here, there is a Malbec from Argentina for every palate, budget, and event!

To celebrate Malbec World Day, eight members of the Ventucky Wine Tribe gathered at Drummer Diane’s to pair Argentinean inspired cuisine with eight Malbec from Argentina: six red still wines and two rose sparkling wines! We started off with one rose sparkler and closed the evening with the other with dessert which I wrote about here.

We got together with the Ventucky Wine Tribe last year to sample Malbec from around the world; read about it here– and check out our fun photos! Many of them returned but we had new people too but not enough time to get photos outside…

MENU:

Several people chipped in for empanada’s from Tatiana’s on Seaward Ave in Ventura while others brought cheese and other items to share. Diane made the pretty Argentine salad with beets, Sue and I made the pretty salad with nasturtium and watercress which was also inspired by a South American recipe I found, Sue made the sausage in phyllo rolls, and I brought the shrimp to go with the sparkling wines. Thanks again to Diane for hosting us and to her daughter Ziah who cleaned up before and after!

WINES:

  • 2018 – Santa Julia – Malbec – Mendoza
  • 2016 – Zuccardi Q – Malbec – Paraje Altamira and Vista Flores – Valle de Uco
  • 2016 – Trivento  – Malbec Reserve
  • 2015 – Trivento Golden Reserve – Malbec – Lujan de Cuyo – Mendoza
  • 2017 – Colome – Autentico Malbec – Valle Calchaque – Salta Argentino
  • 2016 – Colome – Estate Malbec – Valle Calchaqui – Salta Argentina

2018 – Santa Julia – Malbec – Mendoza  14% alcohol SRP $11
Made of certified organic as well as uncertified biodynamic grapes
Sample for my review consideration.

We wrote about other wines from this label earlier this year when we featured organic wines from Argentina in January. To get a wine for around $10 that’s made from certified organic as well as biodynamic grapes is amazing. Organic Rosé and Organic Chardonnay  also come in renewable, recyclable, aluminum cans!

Color: Deep dense color, not really sticking to the glass, but you cannot see into the bottom of the glass, there is a lot of purple in it vermilion as it is swirled in the glass, more fire red than purple, more of a violet red, fuchsia rim.

Nose: Juicy fruit, Dora got light leather and Diane argued saying it was swede because it is softer. Gwen came to hay barn, berry punch. This is not a hugely complex wine

The question at the table from the Wine Tribe:
would you buy this wine just because it has organic grapes?

Palate: Stacy felt this wine was very smooth. This is a big wine, rich in fruit, rolls across the palate, nice acidity, velvety texture mid palate. This wine also made friends with the dill havarti. The Wine Tribe agreed that you are able to taste the dill more clearly as it tames the wine.

Pairing: The andouille sausage rolls balance out the fruit in the wine. With the chicken sausage roll, it is completely different with this wine; it brings out even more of the nutmeg. Fun!

2016 – Zuccardi Q – Malbec – Paraje Altamira and Vista Flores – Valle de Uco – 14% alcohol SRP $20

This family winery also owns Santa Julia which we wrote about here. We have more wines from Zuccardi to dive into for a later post as well as one or two more from Santa Julia including wines in a can! These wines were all samples for my review consideration. 

Grapes come from vineyards that are 3500 and 4000′! The wine is made by Sebastian Zuccardi using indigenous yeast with some barrel aging.

Color: Deep dark plum; super dark outside, the rim is like when you cut the plum open, the color of the flesh.

Nose: I felt the nose was amazing, perfume, lots of florals.

I want to smell like this, woodsy and floral.

Diane picked up on a bit of sulphur, maybe even gunpowder, phosphorus.

Palate: Dryer, not as fruit forward. Greg felt this was an easy drinking wine, he got some light pepper, he also felt roughness on the roof of the mouth. There was nice acidity, there is an immediate dryness.

Pairing: Greg wanted this with lamb and beef, Stacy liked it with the arugula in the salad. It is also nice with the more aged cheeses, it liked the sharpness which brings out more of a fruitiness, without it being too spicy. Sue’s favorite pair was with the andouille sausage; when she mentioned that the rest of the table had to try and we were all euphoric. The spicy meat was so wonderful bringing out a great spiciness in the wine.

2016 – Trivento  – Malbec Reserve – 12.5% SRP $11
sample for my review consideration 

This is a great wine for the money!

Color: A bit of translucency, not as dense as the others, medium density. Ziah felt this was the color of the inside of the blueberry when the blueberry is really ripe.

Nose: Most of the table smelled plum with Ziah finding apricot, Diane stewed prunes, and Dora got campfire. Sue found licorice and slate with an herbaciousness.

Palate: Greg quickly picked out red stone fruit, and we also picked up on some licorice. This wine is relatively balanced, not terribly complex, some fruit, some acidity, somewhat light. We were very ready to go on to the pairing. We liked drinking it, it is very drinkable, it is non-offensive, but nothing extraordinary. Dora found clove on the finish for a half of a second. It does not have a particularly long finish, but it is easy, not harsh, just a bit short.

Pairing: Diane did not like it with the aged manchego. Greg and I wanted a burger with this wine. Sue and Stacy liked it with the beet. It did not go very well with the andouille sausage. might be nice with pork loin, I liked it with the arugula salad. Sue found it to be amazing with the beef empanada making us confirm that it would be a great hamburger bbq wine. Stacy loved it with the herbed brie.

2015 – Trivento Golden Reserve – Malbec – Lujan de Cuyo – Mendoza – 14.5% SRP $21
sample for my review 
consideration 

Trivento is inspired by the three winds.

Color: Much darker, reminding Stacy of blackberry juice, fresh squeezed blackberries, very dense. For me, it’s maroon drapes, and very theatrical along the rim like watery Vampire blood. Margaret saw a garnet ring.

Nose: Metallic, lanolin, cardamom, chai spices; Dora thought it has a new car smell with leather upholstery.

Palate: Greg thought of banana, Diane said banana skin, not banana. Chai spice, pomegranate, a bit of white pepper; enough acidity to make Margaret salivate!

Pairing: Fabulous with super aged sharp cheese bringing out some amazing fruit in the wine while not being too overly fruity. Diane liked it with the empanada sauce on the spinach empanada. The heat in the empanada sauce brings out the spiciness in the wine.

2017 – Colome – Autentico Malbec – Valle Calchaque – Salta Argentino – 14.5% SRP $30
sample for my review consideration 

A wonderfully rich and vibrant wine!

The vineyards are among the highest in the world which means thick-skinned grapes with high acidity. The winery was established in 1831, and vines are over 100 years old. No oak is used which means the bright fruit shines.

Color: Deepest, darkest of all, super dense, long lengthy legs.

Margaret: So dark you could cut this with a knife!

Nose: Everyone agreed that it was blueberry on the nose, uber blueberry. Greg found honey, but for me it was more like pollen, not as sweet as honey, while Diane and Ziah thought it was like a dark honey, and Greg fine tined his honey note to avocado honey! I also got blueberry pie, a bit of vanilla, loamy dirt. We all hung out with the nose for quite a while, there was so much more after the blueberry fruit blew off.

the crisp air after the rain, petrichar, a little air, a little dusty…

Palate: Acidity in the wine is very expanding, it lingers and is far reaching, Sue found a lingering finish of Jolly ranchers cherry, Ziah found fig. Greg found honey and diatomaceous earth. Clean mineral finish.

Pairing: Diane’s Argentinian Springtime hearts of palm salad was the bomb with the wine. Not good with the brie. Greg liked the wine with the younger manchego, but it did not agree with the aged cheese. Sue dreamt of having a halved fig with some caramelized onion with blue cheese crumbles drizzled with some avocado honey and broiled for a few minutes. Sue didn’t make that for tonight, but felt that it would have been a must after tasting this wine. It went well with the beef empanada especially when doused in the sauces. Diane loved the wine with the dill havarti. She highly recommended this combo.

2016 – Colome – Estate Malbec – Valle Calchaqui – Salta Argentia – 14.9% alcohol SRP $25
sample for my review consideration 

This high altitude wine was aged for 15 months in oak barriques.

Color: Inky and dense like prune juice. The darkest wine of the evening, it has a ruby rim.

Me: So dark it’s like looking into a cave.
Stacey: So dense the glass even feels heavier.

Nose: Slate, stone, not floral, not super fruity, lots and lots of minerals. like you are walking through the vineyard with the dirt and the dust. While Diane was deep inside the earth, I was on a fresh rock.

Palate: Stacy did not like this one and dumped right away, but for others, this was a favorite with raspberry, brambleberry, bright fruit, earth, slate, minerals, grape jolly ranchers, very ripe.

Lots of really ripe fruit in both of these wines from Colome.

Pairing: 100% cocoa bar most fabulous with the wine. Works nicely with spices in the empanada sauce. I liked it with the both kinds of sausage puffs, and both Dora and I liked it with the chicken empanadas. Greg felt he was having a hard time figuring out a meat pairing with this wine: he felt that the andouille  was too spicy. Diane liked it with the arugula salad. The meat pies changed the wine, the pie brought out an earthiness to the wine.

I felt that both of the Colome wines (but especially this one)  tasted more like Napa wines rather than Argentine wines; no surprise, Donald Hess brought Colome into the Hess family fold in 2001. If you’re a fan of Napa wines, these are affordable and worth checking out!

I hope this inspires you to get out and try some Malbec from Argentina during Malbec Month! And keep these wines in mind as you head into summer — they work well with grilled meats and empanadas with these wines are a great fast idea for spring and summer days or concerts!

 

3 thoughts on “For #MalbecMonth, look to Argentina! Here’s Why and Six to Try

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