Malbec, Malbec – a Perfect Time for Malbec!

While having coffee with a friend this past week, I was inspired to write a little bit about Malbec.  I know, I know…it’s a grape that everyone wants to talk about.  It’s almost overdone at some point in the way of commercialism but, most importantly, it’s good to understand the variances between some that are good and some that are great!
Malbec as a grape is not a new grape, something more peeps should understand.  It’s always been one of those infamous blending grapes used in the little region of Bordeaux.  And, as it is grown world-wide, probably one of the most increasingly talked about regions for its popularity is Argentina.   While it can take on a full-bodied, almost jet black mouth-feel – many are being produced loosely (without guts) to satiate the newly found appetite for its stardom. 
To me, some of the best Malbecs are dirt driven, lush with fruit on the jammy, spicy end providing a rich, full flavor but will have that tinge of spice and dirt that only a good Malbec can give you. 
The region of Cahors, located in the somewhat south west pocket of France, cultivates a Malbec that is rich with tannin, chewy and down right mouth dropping – however, when produced in region like Argentina – the grape can take on more juicy components.  I urge you to pick up one from each region and set up a fun blind tasting for your friends.  See if they are able to pick up on the distinct differences, yet understanding that they are drinking the same grape!
With all that said, here is what my coffee engagement friend, Mark, said of a new Malbec that he had discovered within the last week:
Malbec – J.P. Mendoza Conquista Reserve 2006   “What I liked about this wine was that I could really taste the chocolate part of it, but I really liked the way that it stayed on my taste buds at the end.   And Betty (Mark’s wife) did not think that this Malbec tasted like “dirt”.  MMMM, maybe it was the hint of chocolate????    I have seen this wine, but not the Reserve, at alot of liquor stores.”  *Mark found this on the shelf for $16*
The best part about Mark’s story is that his wife, Betty hates that ‘dirt’ taste of Malbec – which is why she chose this Malbec as her new favorite.  Mark’s tasting notes with this wine are right on- deep notes of chocolate, but also note that the blue fruited nose and that very soft under belly of minerality do combine beautifully to make this wine lush.  This wine for $16 gives you a lot to be reckoned with. 
Another Malbec locally to keep your eye out for ~ 2006 Famiglia Meschini Malbec.  Mentioning this Malbec before, I have come to very much enjoy this wine.  Eugenio and Teresa Meschini, personal friends and neighbors of mine – are the owners of this small family owned winery out of Argentina.  The spice notes that this wine provides are some of my favorite.  The fruit is certainly lush and deep rooted, yet at the same time – ripe with subtle hints of cedar and wet dirt.  Great again for the price point, just $15-$16 a bottle – and on sale at South Lyndale Liquors, Minneapolis over their last wine sale – where I found it for under $10!! 
My last looker for the category is an old stand by:  Diseno Malbec.  The 2007 Diseno is one that can be easily drunk at any time of the day.  With lunch, dinner, happy hour or heck, even Sunday morning breakfast…this Malbec expresses a zesty, rich marionberry fruit that is great with every meal.  It is a wine that could not possibly offend a single soul.  Just an easy drinker, not too serious and not too flouncy.  It means a little bit of business, with just a tease of deep set earth and dirt.  I describe this wine as my ‘Oompa Loompa’ wine.  Fun and fresh, gets the mouth watering and ready for more drinks and eats.  This last one can be found in a few retail stores and on the shelf for no more than $12-$15.  I love it.  Great for Thanksgiving!
As you can see, this is just an entry level to drinking the good grape Malbec, there are many to explore.  Check out other regions for the grape: taste and smell, smell and taste – you can never have tried too many wines, so drink them all! 

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