Shopping CartShipping CalculatorCustomer ServiceFeedback
Your Wines
SEARCH NORTHSIDERare WinesBest Buy CasesSybarite & Sale Items

Malbec madness

Northside Staff
Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, and Jason Wentworth

In his column dated December 6, 2011, posted on the Wine Spectator website, Matt Kramer calls Argentina’s Malbec “the best deal in fine wine today.” He states that it combines “a killer combination of genuine originality and an almost absurdly low price.” While Malbec is on the decline in its native France, the fruit-driven, broadly flavorful wine it produces in Argentina is immensely popular here in the U.S.

The staff at Northside Wine & Spirits recently blind tasted 28 Argentinean Malbecs, all priced under $20. Most of the wines were well made and exhibited a fairly lush, dark fruit character. Furthermore, many exhibited a chocolate-like or dusty cocoa note in their flavor profile. There was a distinct sameness to many of the wines, which could very well be part of this category’s appeal to some consumers.

The wines that stood out in the tasting were those that had lively, bright fruit that wasn’t covered up by too much oak flavor. The staff’s top pick was the Bodega Noemía 2011 “A Lisa” Malbec ($19 per bottle). This lovely wine was produced from grapes grown in the Rio Negro Valley in Patagonia, an area located to the south of the better known Mendoza region.

The “A Lisa” is produced in part from organically grown grapes planted by Noemía in 2004. It is a richly fruited wine with an almost Zinfandel-like character. Its velvety texture and long, balanced finish distinguished it from other wines in the tasting. No new oak is employed, so the fruit is fully on display.

The tasting also turned up a couple of great values. The Gouguenheim 2010 Malbec Reserva and the NQN 2012 “Malma” Malbec are both nicely priced at $12 per bottle. The Gouguenheim, with its cassis-like fruit and hint of mocha on the finish, is a rich mouthful. The Malma is lighter and brighter, and should appeal to those who sometimes find Malbec too much of a good thing.

Argentina is beef country, and these wines are just the thing for a juicy steak or braised short ribs. Non-carnivores should try these delicious wines with sturdy bean or lentil dishes or a nice piece of aged cheese.

» Past Wine Picks