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5 of the best: Argentine Malbec

Malbec Wines

It’s one of the world’s favourite red wine grapes. With an inky dark colour and vigorous tannins, it’s increasingly become known as the de-facto Argentine wine varietal. Outside of Argentina, it’s closely associated with the Cahors region of South-West France. Like many new world varieties, it was originally brought to the nation from France- it made the journey in around 1860. In its native France is was known to be sensitive to frosts and liable for disease. In Argentina however, the grape has flourished, and in doing so, has brought the wine to bars and tables around the world.

It wasn’t always so well thought of in Argentina, 30-40 years ago the countries vineyards were spilling over with Malbec vines, especially in Mendoza, and the industry was somewhat embarrassed. Persistently they looked to pull out these vines in favour of something more fashionable at the time. Luckily for us all, the strain of Malbec present in these vineyards adapted themselves spectacularly. Malbec is now the fashionable choice.

We’ve taken a look through our range to bring to you 5 Argentine Malbecs we think your customers will love, we hope the list below will give a good starting point for choosing a Malbec to add to your list. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or instead, let us know what you’ll be drinking this month.

Vistalba Corte A, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza >

First up we have a blend of 79% Malbec, 15% Bonarda and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Bonarda being another old world grape now known far better for flourishing in Argentina. The Malbec and Bonarda grapes for this wine are grown in vineyards planted in 1948, the Cabernet Sauvignon being planted in 1999. The estate’s vineyards are about 980 metres above sea level and lie in the Luján de Cuyo region surrounding the city of Mendoza.

There is no use of pesticides or herbicides in the vineyards and all grapes are manually harvested and transported to the winery in small boxes where a traditional fermentation is carried out. The juices are fermented separately and then the blend is matured in French oak for 18 months. The result is a wonderful wine with complex aromas of dark chocolate, prune and tobacco. The palate has sweet, ripe fruit with notes of chocolate and spice.

Salentein Primus Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza >

This award-winning wine is made by Salentein in the Uco Valley, an estate that has roots back to the 17th century and The Society of Jesus. Not only did the Jesuits build an estate and farm at an altitude of 1700 metres above sea level, they also planted the first vines on the estate so that they could make communion wine.

Many years on the grapes for Primus Malbec are grown 1,150 metres above sea level on low-yielding vines in the Finca El Oasis vineyard. Fermented in French oak vats with manual ‘punching-down’ of the caps, then aged for 19 months in French oak. The result is filled with the intense and complex aroma of red and blackberries and spices; the palate is full-bodied yet well-balanced with plenty of freshness to carry the fruit.

Alpasión Malbec, Mendoza >

This isn’t the first time we’ve sung the praises of this wonderful full-flavoured classic Malbec. Alpasión is derived from the Spanish words for soul (alma) and passion (pasion) and their goal is to make the best possible wine according to sustainable organic standards.

Grapes are grown up high in the Uco Valley sub-region of Mendoza to make this robust full-bodied Malbec. The hand-harvested grapes are fermented using indigenous yeast and the wine is moved through the winery by gravity. After a 15-day maceration and the malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged for 10 months in new French oak Bordeaux barrels.

Full-flavoured, with a classic Malbec palate. Its mouthfeel is silky and concentrated and combines ripe fruitiness with round and supple tannins. It’s a truly beautiful wine both inside and out, the label features the fingerprints and signatures of all the owners.

Puro Organic Malbec >

Whilst the Uco Valley is currently the more fashionable area of Mendoza to be exploring, it is worth remembering where it all started for premium wines from Mendoza – Luján de Cuyo. One man who recognises the region’s ability to produce excellent Malbec is the Swiss musician and conceptual artist, Dieter Meier – remember Yello’s ‘Oh Yeah’? The wines are fashioned by top-flight winemaker Marcelo Pelleriti; he’s already notched up a couple of 100 point scores for his toils in Bordeaux.

Classic dark purple-blue colour with a charge of sweet blueberry and violet on the nose; unoaked, the palate shows warmth and plenty of ripe, dark fruit, with shavings of milk chocolate and a touch of vanilla pod. Created from Malbec grapes which reach full ripeness in the dry, mould-free atmosphere of the sandy Ojo de Vino vineyard which is 1,000 metres above sea level.

Atamisque Serbal Malbec, Tupungato, Mendoza >

Philippe Caraguel is the Winery Manager at Atamisque; he has been working with Argentine grapes for twenty years. Philippe has trained in France, notably with Moët & Chandon, Maison Drouhin and Château Malartic-Lagravière. Now he works inside the modern Atamisque winery which has quickly become a visual icon of the region, with its beautiful slate roof crafted to an architectural style more commonly seen in the French or Italian Alps. Beneath the roof is a beautifully laid out winery, arranged so the grapes can be gently treated, with gravity employed to move the grapes, juice and wine rather than pumps.

Grapes are harvested in the Tupungato region of Mendoza, from vineyards over 1,300 metres above sea level. Unoaked, the wine is given a protracted ageing period prior to release. Intense ruby-red, the nose shows aromas of red fruit and violet; the palate shows plenty of that same red fruit, namely wild raspberry and strawberry with splashes of plum and damson flavours, finishing fresh and juicy. This wine bagged 91 points from Decanter, as well as medals at the yearly wine awards.

You can find more information about the wines we stock here. If you want to stock any of the wines mentioned, click here to place an order online now, or here to request an account with us; and don’t forget we’re here to support you with everything you need to ensure that your wine range is a success, from free menu design and print services to staff training .

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