Tag: Malbec

May 05 2015

Great Value Argentinian Malbec: Vintage Cellars Double Bay Masterclass

Posted on May 05, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

At least 40 percent of British people would likely rate Malbec as their favourite wine

Writing for The Guardian in London, wine critic Fiona Beckett recently said that she reckoned if you asked a random selection of people what their favourite red wine was, at least 40 percent would say Argentinian malbec! “These days”, she wrote, “it seems to have ousted even rioja in our affections. And you can see why. It shares rioja’s appealing fullness and smoothness, but it’s a bit brighter and fruitier, though not as jammy, as say, an Australian or California red.” (Wine: move over Spanish rioja – Argentinian malbec is the new red kid in town by Fiona Beckett, The Guardian, 15 November 2014)

I’m guessing Argentinian malbec isn’t nearly as popular in Australia. And it’s not because our tastes differ widely to the British. Because of distance and our relatively small population, we don’t see nearly as many imports on our our shelves, especially from New World wine regions like Argentina.

Great value and high quality Argentine Malbec is now more widely available in Australia

But if the quality of wines on offer at a recent Vintage Cellar’s tasting is any guide, some very good and great value Argentinian malbecs at different price points can now be found in Australia.

Lunta_malbec_2010_med__65080.1405350735.1280.1280One of my favourite wines of the night was the big yet elegant Achaval-Ferrer Malbec Mendoza 2011 (rrp $54.99). Made from mainly old-vine malbec from single vineyards in three different regions of Mendoza, the wine had a delightfully floral nose with mineral accents. The fruit was ripe but not too sweet and, while the palate was medium-bodied and the tannins quite polished, the wine had enough structure and complexity to age for quite a bit longer.

Achaval-Ferrer has a well deserved reputation for … Read the rest

Aug 08 2014

A Few Interesting Facts about Malbec

Posted on August 08, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Malbec is a wonderful wine to enjoy with a winter meal

In the Cahors region of southwest France, where Malbec is the main grape variety, the most famous regional dish is cassoulet – a hearty haricot bean based stew that typically includes confit of duck, sausages and other meats. The beef loving Argentinians, who have made the malbec grape their own, believe the wine is perfect complement to char-grilled steaks or ribs.

Malbec has become synonymous with the Mendoza region of Argentina

Argentina has the oldest malbec vines in the world

Just like the original shiraz vines that were planted in South Australia in the mid to late 1800s, the 19th malbec vines of Mendoza region in Argentina were untouched by the phylloxera outbreak, which devastated vineyards across France. Fortunately, many of the old vines also escaped a state-sanctioned vine pull in the 1980s.

Today Argentina has the oldest malbec vines in the world, many of which are still growing on their own natural root stocks. One of Argentina’s most celebrated producers, Achaval-Ferrer, makes three single vineyard ultra-premium malbecs from vines that are between 90 to 105 years old.

The top malbecs of Mendoza are beautifully expressive of their terror

Mendoza is situated in the foothills of the snow-capped Andes mountain range. Summer days are hot and dry, but the temperature cools down considerably at night and the wineries can take advantage of the clean, crystal clear cool water coming off the mountains to irrigate their vines.

In Mendoza vineyard altitude is key to quality

In a fascinating article about Mendoza in the latest edition of Gourmet Traveller Wine Australia, Dr Thomas Girgensohn explains that academic and winemaker Nicolas Cantena realised that the altitude of the vineyard was a key factor influencing grape quality. (Made in Mendoza by Dr … Read the rest

Nov 11 2011

Is Australia now Austria? WS Top 100 dings Aussies

Posted on November 11, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Wine Spectator have just completed their major marketing release of their annual Top 100 wines, and there was one thing I was particularly keen to see. It wasn’t the identity of the number one wine (Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2009), or the top ranked Barolo (Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra 2006), but rather how many Australian wines made it on to the list this year. As recently as 2009 there were 10 Australians in the Top 100, and last year there was still six, including two in the top 10. However, something told me that it was going to be ugly this year.

First of all, there’s the exchange rate. While the economies of the USA and Europe struggle to maintain a pulse, the Australian economy has kept on truckin’ (commodities to China), and the A$ has gone through parity with the US$. Can’t be good for Australian exporters. Secondly, there’s fashion. Australian wine, and Shiraz in particular, benefited from this for many years, but that phase is over, and the new black is no longer black Shiraz. In the December 15 edition of Wine Spectator there are a number of articles in relation to Argentinian wine, especially Malbec, which is apparently the new black, or has been in recent times at least. In Nathan Wesley’s article ‘Malbec’s Moment’ he has this to say about Australian Shiraz,

Many winemakers are worried Argentina is overinvested in Malbec, as Australia seems to be in Shiraz. During America’s recession and Malbec’s ascent, Australian Shiraz, the wine-world darling only a few years ago, got caught with a glut of wine priced either too low or too high. As a result, sales declined in the United States from 6.1 million cases in 2006 to 5.2 million cases in 2009

And there was … Read the rest