Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Today, I’m told, is Malbec World Day. Why it isn’t World Malbec Day, I don’t know, though certainly the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship must; they, after all, are the ones who came up with it. Nevertheless, “Malbec World” sounds like a department store, and personally, I think that if they wish this celebration to catch on, they ought to reverse it.
That’s where my complaints end, though. I’m entirely happy with Malbec itself, a red grape that first achieved notice in the French regions of Bordeaux (where they largely ditched it after a big frost in 1956 killed off most of the Malbec vines) and Cahors. But French Malbec (or Cot, as it’s sometimes called) can be bruisingly tannic and tough, and it’s Argentina where Malbec has really come into its own.
The grape arrived in 1868, carried over by a French agricultural engineer named Michel Pouget, and now it’s grown on more than 75,000 acres. As well there might be: Argentine Malbec at its best combines vivid black-fruit and spice notes with a firm (but not aggressively tannic) structure. On top of that, there are very good Argentine Malbecs available for modest prices - never a bad thing. Here are five to check out.
2011 Bodini Malbec ($9)
Dark cherry fruit and an appealing kick of spice from a few months in oak barrels make this affordable Malbec a terrific deal.
2011 Durigutti Malbec ($12)
Purple hued and blackberry rich, this Mendoza red has a succulent juiciness that’s hard to resist.
2011 Argento Malbec ($13)
This screw-cap sealed, plummy wine gets a sweet vanilla note from oak aging. It’s plush and abundantly juicy; not exactly subtle, so serve with an equally unsubtle dish like a big, rare steak.
2010 Terrazes de los Andes Reserva Malbec ($17)
Velvety tannins give this ripe red a luscious mouthfeel, and its flavor is robust enough to balance the substantial amount of oak presence.
2009 Finca 8 Reserva Malbec ($27)
It’s on the pricey side, but this polished red (made by one of Argentina's greatest winemakers, Roberto de la Mota) pays off with layers of fruit and a distinctive mocha note.
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I think they called it "Malbec World Day" because they didn't want any confusion/conflict with "weapons of mass destruction" when abbreviated WMD.
Salud! Love Malbec. The greatest Argentinian product ever. Let's enjoy a few bottles to celebrate Malbec Day.
$27 for a malbec?! i'll still with my $3.99 La Finca malbec from trader joe's
Wow Mike – Have a glass of wine, Malbec is suggested.
Why do articles like this make headline news, but Gosnell does not? http://articles.philly.com/2011-01-21/news/27041098_1_abortion-doctor-abortion-clinic-one-treatment-room
Wow dude, Chill out with a Malbec and stop being a "killjoy". I think there is enough 'bad news' to go around that there can be some room for something to 'left the spirits and sooth the soul." So as you read all the bad, horrible and unjust acts of human depravity in the world and your sense of justice spikes and begin you to feel like Charles Brunson, take a sip of a 2009 Benegas Reserve and remember that there will always be bad news in this world. But despite that, we can find somethings to smile about once in a while.
Well said Shane
Its not called World Malbec Day, because no body wants to go to a "WMD party" or no country really wants to host a "Large WMD" or the "Biggest WMD in the southern hemisphere"
Nothing more irritating than people using words like "juicy" and "mocha" to over-analyze wine, when in reality most wine snobs wouldn't know the difference between two-buck Chuck and a Henri Jayer if they couldn't see the label.
If you know what you like, you know enough
wasn't that a line from an episode of "chuck" a year or so ago?
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