Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Lots of interest lately in the forgotten (shunned?) grape of France called Malbec, a bit player often found in Meritage and Cabernet Sauvignon blends as well as Bordeaux. It has rarely been taken seriously as a stand-alone, at least until the Argentineans started doing for Malbec what the Chileans have done for Carmanere.
Wine Spectator whips out a well-deserved 90 for the 2003 Terrazas Reserva Malbec and at under $15.00 a bottle you need to scamper out to the local wine shop and stock up (or let your fingers do the walking).
The grapes are grown at 3500 feet on the slopes of the Andes and irrigated with snow-melt. The wine imparts an earthy, intense, rich, full-bodied flavor. Lots of big black fruit, loaded with blackberry and plum, good depth and balance, with just a tease of pepper and briar on the back side (five bucks says the Kosmik Kid is going to email and ask me to define briar). It’s a bit fumey upfront but a little air will help that along (let it breathe for a while or decant it altogether).
UPDATE: several readers asked about fumey, which refers to the smell of raw alcohol (fumes) on the nose (when one swirls and smells the wine or first tips the glass to sip), as in rubbing alcohol or cheap vodka. Fumey isn't entirely or always unpleasant but it tends to get in the way of the pleasant aroma of red wine. The condition tends to fade with cellar time and/or a little breathing.
This is a magnificent wine with a cellar potential approaching seven to ten years. But you could enjoy it now with some strong cheese, a mesquite grilled steak, some good jazz, or all three. Throw in some conversation and it’s an unforgettable evening with the lady or the gent of your passions. The dessert is up to you.
tip of the glass to Mrs TWC for bringing it home