Anthony Rose on wine: Big Mal
Such has been the success of Argentina’s malbec over the past two decades that it seems astonishing that growers were once tearing out their malbec vines, and their hair, for lack of demand for red wine. Thanks to pioneers such as Catena and Weinert and investment from overseas companies, malbec was saved for the nation, but it’s only today that we’re really seeing its true potential.
Since the 1990s, malbec has rapidly blossomed in Argentina. Natural conditions of warm sunshine ripening and the freshness that high Andean altitude brings are boosted by an abundant supply of melted mountain snow. It was ever thus, but the refinements in style brought about by experience and attention to detail have created both plusher and more sophisticated reds that often trump their south-west French counterparts (to be fair, things in malbec’s homeland of Cahors are changing for the better there, too).
Today, the revival is focusing on a number of improving aspects, among them reducing the levels of oak and alcohol to create brighter styles and working on greater finesse. The growing breadth of styles comprises wines ranging from entry level to sophisticated fine reds. So, at the foothills of malbec for instance, you come across easy sippers such as the moreishly drinkable 2013 Santa Ana Malbec, £8.99, buy 2 = £5.99, Majestic, or the fragrant and succulently blackberryish 2011 Trivento Reserve Malbec, £8.99, Tesco.
The more refined, brighter approach to malbec is evident in wines such as the polished, black-fruited 2011 Catena Malbec, £10.39-£12.99, Waitrose, Majestic, the delightfully fragrant, subtly herbal and mulberry-filled 2012 Achaval Ferrer Malbec, £15.50, Corney & Barrow (020-7265 2500), and the magnificent 2011 Mendel Malbec, £14.96, Jeroboams shops, combining plump black-cherry intensity with seamless vanilla spice and textured succulence. Step up yet another gear and the superb blend, 2009 Pulenta Estate Gran Corte, £29, Marks & Spencer, is richly endowed with cassis and blackberry spiciness, yet elegant at the same time.
Peering into the future, Argentina’s producers are taking a leaf out of the terroir book to map out subtle regional differences from Salta to Patagonia. You can see the influence of mountain vine-growing in the superb spice and concentrated black-fruited grip of the 2011 Colomé Malbec, £17.49, Waitrose, from Salta’s Calchaquí Valley, and from Patagonia the milder, yet succulently chocolatey expression of the grape in the savoury spiciness of the 2011 Viñalba Malbec Syrah, £6, down from £9, Asda.
Something for the weekend
2010 Sogatia Chianti, Tuscany
A blend of Tuscany’s sangiovese grape with a touch of cabernet sauvignon and merlot for fuller body, this good-value chianti is a pizza-friendly discovery. £8, Oddbins
2012 Turkey Flat Butcher’s Block Marsanne Viognier Roussanne
Move over southern Rhône and let Australia deliver a rich Rhône-style blend with a refreshing finish. Buy two, save 20 per cent at £11.99, Majestic
2008 Château Domeyne, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe
With liquorice-spicy aromas, this accomplished claret from Claire and Gonzague Lurton in one of the Big Four Médoc communes shows balance and style. £23.50, Berry Bros & Rudd
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cancer treatment to her scientist father over the dinner table
Lack of medically trained staff leaves NHS 111 phone service struggling to cope, insider claims
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
iJobs Food & Drink
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...