More and more people are looking to buy good Argentinian Malbec, or to use the new correct adjective, good Argentine Malbec, as it’s quality has recently been widely publicised. It’s the grape that helped put Argentina in the spotlight in the wine world, as the Argentinian (Argentine!) producers are able to craft some exceptional wines from this grape, unmatched by any other country in the world. If you’re looking to buy good Argentinian Malbec, please read on for some top suggestions.
Malbec was originally grown in the South of France, although it was traditionally blended with other grapes to produce red Bordeaux – or Claret – as we Brits know it. It needs a great deal of sunshine to fully ripen, and a big differential between night and day time temperatures, so most wine producing regions of Argentina are very well suited, as they’re virtually all at altitude and all sheltered from rainfall by the Andes, giving many regions a glorious 320 days a year of sunshine – about the same as we get in the UK in 10 years! France on the other hand always struggled with the climate and concentrated on different grapes requiring less sunshine to ripen.
Argentina has made enormous progress and is now producing world class red blends, especially Bordeaux based blends, some excellent red varietals including a few suprises like excellent Sangiovese! And some very good white varietals – especially Torrontes – plus some great sparkling wines and dessert wines too. So you’d think you couldn’t really go wrong ordering something Argentinian on a wine list? Well, unfortunately as with other major wine producing countries, there are plenty of unscrupulous companies taking advantage of Argentina’s success, to produce inferior wines and sell them on the back of the recent good publicity. But don’t despair, get some good advice and you’ll be drinking some of the best red wines around, for a fraction of the price of anything French any where near the same quality.
One of the best and most popular mid priced Malbecs around at present is Susana Balbo Malbec, from her new venture Dominio del Plata in Mendoza. However, if you want something really impressive for less money, try Eral Bravo Malbec, the brand name of a new boutique winery in Mendoza set up by the Sanchez Nieto family who’ve been making exceptional wines in Argentina for 30 years. It’s still relatively unheard of over here but their wines are fabulous. If you want to spend a little more and experience one of the very best Malbecs around, try NQN Malma Colleccion Malbec from Patagonia – another boutique winery producing exceptional wines. They make a lot of good wines in small quantities and their standard Malbec is very good, their Riserva is even better, but this – their Colleccion – is something very special. Finally for the ultimate in indulgence, travel to the other end of Argentina, high up on the plains of Salta, and go for El Porvenir de Los Andes Laborum Malbec. This is a hand crafted wine made in tiny quantities, about 18000 bottles annually. They make superb varietals from other grapes too, including a stunning Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and a fabulous Tannat – another Argentine speciality. I defy anybody to try these four Malbecs and not be impressed. They’re all available from Argentine specialist and all round good wine specialist www.goodwineonline.co.uk