A Marvelous – and Reasonably Priced – Malbec

by artfuldiner on April 1, 2013

in Culinary Criticism, Opinion, Wine

Malbec originated in Bordeaux where it continues be one of the six grapes allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine. Its role, however, is strictly utilitarian, as this purple grape is employed for the sole purpose of adding color and body (tannins) to various vintages. In the Cahors region of France, Malbec is called Auxerrois or Cot Noir where it mixed with Merlot and Tannat to make dark, full-bodied wines. More recently the grape has been made into 100% Malbec varietal wines with somewhat modest success.

But it is in the sun-drenched climate of Argentina that Malbec finally achieved fame and glory. The grape has become incredibly popular in recent years and is currently all the rage among red wine lovers. It is, quite literally, the wine of the moment; and, as one article recently noted, the “wine of the people.”

I freely confess that I’ve never been an enthusiastic fan of Malbec. Many of the wines I’ve sampled have been either exceedingly harsh on the palate – the result of too much tannin or alcohol or both – or too flabby, that is, lacking in structure, acidity, and flavor.

Fortunately, the 2009 Hacienda del Plata Zagal Malbec from Argentina’s Mendoza region has proved a marvelous exception to my previous disappointments. The wine exhibits a beautifully deep color and strong earthy nose. On the palate, it is intensely fruity and well balanced with just the slightest hint of oak. In contrast to richer Malbecs, which can strike one as decidedly ponderous over the course of a meal, the 2009 Hacienda del Plata beguiles the taste buds with its juicy freshness.

And tipping the scale at around $12.00 per bottle, one of the best parts about this little beauty is most assuredly its outrageously reasonable price.

Bon Appétit!


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