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Marvelous Argentine Malbecs

Northside Staff Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Kelley O’Neill, Barry Manville, Jason Wentworth

Argentina is the world’s fifth largest wine-producing nation, but its wines have only recently become better known in the U.S. The red grape variety largely responsible for this increased recognition is Malbec.

Malbec’s original home turf is southwestern France, where it is the primary variety in the "black wine" of Cahors, and used as a blending grape in the Bordeaux region. It was introduced to Argentina in 1868 by a French agronomist named Michel Pouget.
At its best, Malbec produces wine replete with lush, dark fruit underpinned by hints of appealing earthiness. Styles range from fruity and straightforward to full-bodied and intense.

The staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently blind-tasted 21 Malbecs from Argentina and two from neighboring Chile. Overall quality was high, with first place going to the 2004 Trapiche Malbec "Viña Victorio Coletto" (Mendoza, Arg.)[Sku 9259].* At $45 per bottle, it was the tasting’s most expensive wine. Tasters used words like "intense," "dramatic," and "wow!" to describe this impressive, delicious wine.

The best value, at $10 per bottle, was the 2006 Altos las Hormigas Malbec (Mendoza, Arg.), gushing with rich, plummy fruit and a pleasant hint of vanilla[Sku 63438].*

Argentina is famous for its beef, and these wines are ideally suited for robust beef stews and grilled steaks. Vegetarians should consider pairing them with richly flavored mushroom dishes.

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 01/22/2007

Northside Wine & Spirits is located in the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Elmira Road.

Phone 607-273-7500

*To purchase this wine, simply type its "Sku" into the "Find" field at the top ofthe page, and then click "Go."

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