Good Morning Gentle Readers,
The Catena family has been growing grapes in Mendoza for over a century but the Malbecs are a recent addition that has evolved from sixty year old vines and several years of experimentation with a variety of clones planted in various vineyards at different elevations. The results have been remarkable.
Naturally, the astute Gentle Reader is thinking......Wait, that seems a contradiction in terms, and it is. By way of explanation:
Domingo Catena fiercely believed that Argentine Malbec could make a wine as worthy as any first growth Bordeaux. Nicolás was not sure that Malbec would be able to age. In 1989, after his father Domingo died, Nicolás put all his sorrow into.....his father’s intuition. It took 5 years of working on the 60 year old Angélica vineyard before Nicolás was satisfied enough to make a Catena Malbec in 1994.
Then came the experimentation. After the French clones didn't work out.
The Alamos Malbec comes from vineyards in La Consulta, where winters are snowy and summer nights are cool.
The 2007 Alamos Malbec has a dark, blackish purple color. The nose shows ripe black fruits, black pepper spice and floral notes. The mouthfeel is full yet soft and supple, with black raspberry and currant flavors mingled with notes of sweet spice and a touch of leather. The finish is long and persistent with soft, sweet tannins.
TWC would agree with the winemaker except I found an odd, tannic aroma on the nose that is not altogether unpleasant, but there was little else until the wine gets to the palate. Like most Malbecs, it's an intense wine with lots of dry black fruit and a little bit of an earthy feel to it. My bottles (I've had this wine twice) were missing anything peppery or tasting of sweet spice. Might mention that you could keep this wine around for a few years and it would likely benefit from that.
The Alamos is available for eight to ten dollars US. This is hearty wine and you would do well to serve it with hearty fare. In keeping with its origins, Argentine style grilled beef would be perfect.
What? You want a number? Can't I just say that this is a good wine? That it's inexpensive enough to drink regularly? That I would drink it again? That it is priced well in relationship to the quality? That I liked it?
Okay: 89.67 (see below)
The Wine Commonsewer
The TWC rating scale loosely works like this:
- 96-100 Perfect
- 93-95 Superb! Wow!
- 91-92 Excellent Wine-Often is Special Occasion Wine
- 88-90 Drinkable Every Day Wine
- 85-87 You Pay Your Money & You Take Your Chances (likely plonk)
- 75-85 Boone's Farm
- 0-75 Thunderbird & Night Train