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2009 Alex Elman Malbec

This is a buyer’s wine from a portfolio of wines bought from different wineries and bottled under a proprietary label. The owner lost her sight but not her olfactory sense. This is unoaked, with blackberry on the nose but with slight vegetal asparagus aromas. As is sometimes encountered with some Malbecs, the fruit seems unyielding, like it is trying to open up but will only go so far and no farther. Bitter astringent finish. To be fair, a little better the second day, but not so far as I can commend it. This wine has its fans, but I’m not one of them, I’m afraid. Not recommended. GT
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2006 Mendel Unus Malbec

Definite luscious cabernet in the nose, dusty earthy and some minty eucalyptus in both nose and flavor. Smooth mouthfeel. Lighter on end-palate and in finish. Firm structure and moderate, well-integrated tannins. I would recommend aerating and/or decanting before drinking – which I did, but it remained a little too restrained for my taste. Recommended with reservations. BSE
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2005 Swinto Old Vines Malbec

Made from 100-year-old vines, this Malbec is gentle and pleasing. The nose has dry earth notes, and the flavor a slight spiciness. Dark berry compote with candied plum and burnt sugar, hints of cocoa, tobacco. Tinny tannins but a floral finish. Rounds out nicely with time Aerate and/or decant before serving. Recommended. BSE
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2008 Gauchezco Oro Malbec

The “Oro” is the reserve Malbec, and it’s a restrained version of the regular Malbec in the Gauchezco line. Here, there’s a very slight aroma of blackberry and leaf. Spicy, dark, cooked cherry on the palate, transitioning to milder dark red fruit in end palate and finish. Cocoa notes. Light, integrated tannins. Remember to open a half-hour before drinking, or decant or aerate first. Recommended. BSE
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2009 Achaval-Ferrer Quimera

Achaval-Ferrer is famed for producing extremely complex—and extremely expensive—Malbec, but their Quimera blend (made from malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot from varying locations and in varying percentages) is a steal even at forty bucks. Quimera is a demanding wine, with huge structure, dark fruits, and savory, herbal notes. It’s also a unique wine, blending the best of Argentina’s Malbec qualities with those of red grapes usually associated with Bordeaux and California—and in the best years it can age for decades, gaining similar complexity, nuance and elegance as its much pricier counterparts north of the equator.