It wasn’t so long ago that Merlot was the grape variety that reigned supreme in people’s minds and in their wine glasses. Then, the movie Sideways came along, and Pinot Noir soared to popularity. Now, another grape variety has stepped into the limelight—Malbec. Full-flavored, dark, and structured, Malbec wines may lack the versatility of lighter varieties like Pinot Noir, but they satisfy a hankering for a robust red. Here are three examples:
Punto Final Malbec Reserva 2008
$19, Southern Wine & Spirits
Malbec’s reputation for producing a full-bodied, chewy wine is borne out in this Malbec. Culled from 50-year-old vines, the wine exudes blackberry and black-cherry fruit, along with a hint of cocoa and spice from the time it has spent in oak barrels. It has a long finish and firm structure; Argentines love their steaks, and this wine is a
natural with beef.
Revolution Malbec 2009
$12, Bacchus Importers
A less structured, more charming, and lighter iteration of Malbec can be found in the Argentine Revolution. It bursts with juicy cherry and plum tones, but isn’t bulked up with serious oak aging. It still has plenty of stuffing to run with grilled meats and such, but has the finesse to pair with lasagna and hearty vegetable dishes. Plus, it’s imported by Baltimore’s own Steve Ward, so you’re helping out a local business.
Georges Vigouroux Le Gouleyant Cahors 2010
$15, Washburn Wine Company
Argentina’s wine reputation has been built mostly on Malbec, but the grape is actually an immigrant to that country from France. The Cahors region has been growing Malbec for hundreds of years. A delicious example can be found in the Georges Vigouroux. It shows off crushed blackberry, currant, and a hint of blueberry, offering lightness without being thin.