Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mighty Good Malbecs

I was reminded last week of why I love Malbec. It's got the richness of Syrah, with some of the tannic structure of Cabernet. While the former can sometimes be too jammy, and the latter too austere, Malbecs are just right for pairing with a wide variety of foods. And with many of us turning off our grills and heating up our ovens, it's worth pointing out that Malbecs are great with autumn stews and soups.

Here are some of the best Malbecs I've tasted recently--and they are in the market at a variety of price points under $20.

2007 Trumpeter Malbec. Made by Argentina's Familia Rutini, this is a simple, pleasant, well-priced Malbec. For under $10 you get aromas aromas of roasted coffee and plum. The flavors are dominated by black cherry, coffee, and toast, and there is a juicy, tannic finish. Expect this wine to be slightly drying in the mouth when sipped on its own, but it shines with food. Very good QPR. (available in most markets for under $10)

2008 Don Miguel Gascón Malbec. Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón has a new label for their popular wine, but there's still the same very good QPR wine inside. You'll start off smelling blackberry and blueberry, along with a strong hit of coffee. The berry fruit continues through the flavors, and there is a distinctive mocha aftertaste that makes it well worth the under $15 price tag. (available in most markets for around $14)

2007 Alamos Selección Malbec. A terrific Malbec from Bodega Catena Zapata with aromas of blackberry, violets, and spice. The flavors are nicely layered, and include black cherry, fennel, and more violets along with a pleasant leathery note. Satiny tannins and refreshing acidity round out this wine. Excellent QPR for this unusually complex bottling under $20. (available for $12-$20 in most markets)

If you think Malbecs only pair well with grilled red meat, think again. We had our Malbecs with some Asian-style drumsticks. The sticky glaze made with hoisin and chili sauces was delicious, and a perfectly robust counterpoint to the wines. The 5-Spice in the recipe accented the leathery and floral notes in these wines, and the plum and berry fruit profiles provided a juicy counterpoint to the assertive flavorings.

Full Disclosure: I received these wines as samples.


Buy Wine Online said...

Great choice of Malbecs. I definitely have enjoyed Gascon Malbec over the past couple years. But I see it going down the road of others.

Once it gets the popularity, the price goes with it. But I hope not...


jason said...

I've had these same Malbecs. It is my favorite red value wine with NZ Sauv Blanc being my white. The Pascual Toso is my long time fave...

Sam said...

love malbecs, and they are almost always great buys. michael rolland makes a malbec blend that's just delicious dark cherry chocolaty goodness called "clos de los siete" retails for about 12 bones.

defly have to check these out.

Dr. Debs said...

I've never been able to get my hands on the Rolland, Sam. Will have to keep looking for it.

Frankie H. Gutierrez said...

Thanks for the great post! Alamos is my favorite Malbec!

Elle said...

Nothing can make me happier than to see BOTH Gascon and Alamos posted on here. I am a huge Malbec fan and am always encouraging my friends to step out of the box and try something other than Cab, Merlot, Pinot Noir. I will DEFINITELY be emailing this blog to them.