This has a lot to do with some deeply nerdy “clonal” science — Malbec clones are possibly the most distinct of all grape varieties — but there’s also so much to discover when comparing New World and Old World winemaking, the influence of altitude on the grape’s expression, and a whole lot more. What better time to dig into it all than International Malbec Day, coming up this weekend?
Argentina boasts some of the world’s oldest Malbec vines. The robust quality of those established roots shows in the glass with powerful, concentrated favors.
Mendoza is Argentina’s most famous region producing wines of this character, on display at a great value in 90+ Cellars Old Vine Malbec. The nose is lush with juicy black raspberry and plum, cocoa and warm spices. Even more classic spices like clove and black pepper come through on the palate, finishing with a dark fruit juiciness and a light, brambly structure.
It’s hard to share the winemaking spotlight with a beast like Bordeaux, but the lesser known Cahors region is another gem of southwestern France. Cahors showcases Malbec while Bordeaux has largely let the variety wane out of existence, which is a shame because while Malbec can be a pain to cultivate, the French clonal character ticks a lot of boxes for both Malbec and Bordeaux lovers.
More earthy than the Mendoza example, Chateau Nozieres Cahors Malbec offers notes of tobacco, currant, and crushed earth on the nose, while the palate integrates more black plum, currant, and cedar wood. With 15% Merlot added, this is a powerful red with an air of elegance.
-Aimee Hutchinson | Wine Lead Top Ten Liquors Roseville