What to Drink Right Now: Malbec Edition
Drinking cheap and easy with an excellent pedigree!
Malbec may have begun its rise in France as one of the few grapes permitted in Bordeaux, but it found its pinnacle in Argentina. Planted in Mendoza in the 1800s it is Argentina’s premier grape. And it's easy to see why.
Dark, dry and balanced full of fruit, earth, and balanced spice, Malbec is one of the easiest reds to drink and to afford. The best thing for wine buyers is Malbec’s consistency. I have never had a “bad” Argentinian Malbec.
Most Malbec’s run between $10 and $15. Many have screw tops, can’t get much easier than that. They aren’t heavy or unctuous like Cabernet or Merlot can be, yet they aren’t as light bodied as most Pinot Noirs. Many have good spice, but the spice is well balanced with fruit and earth.
The inspiration for this column was a Malbec I had this weekend, Amalaya 2016 Malbec. Dark purple, fruity and concentrated. The wine has notes of juicy black fruit, and earth. Great structure, with layers of flavor. Very easy drinking. This Malbec is actually a blend of Malbec 85%, Tannat 10%, Petit Verdot 5%. It has a screw top and the average price is $15, in some places it can be found as low as $10.
A quick note on blends versus single varietals, such as this Malbec which blends small portions of other grapes. In the United States, a wine can be labeled as a single varietal, like Malbec, if it contains at least 75% of that grape. The smaller amounts of other grapes do not have to be listed. Companies can choose to list them, as Amalaya did. In France, the varietals do not have to be listed on the bottle at all as only certain grapes can be grown in certain areas, but that is for a whole other column. 😊