The Argentine winery Don Miguel Gascon (known mainly as just ‘Gascon’ in the U.S.) has established a devoted following for its malbec and Malbec Reserve. Now the winery has stepped out of the pure Malbec model to release a new wine that is a blend of Malbec with four other varieties. ‘Colosal’, as the blend is named, is 61% Malbec, 16% Bonarda, 13% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Last week, Gascon winemaker Ernesto Bajda, came through town and tasted me on the new wine, the 2011.
Much like a Bordeaux is a blend of up to five grapes that make the whole more than the sum of its parts, so the Mendoza-sourced Colosal takes Malbec as its core but adds other grapes to produce a more complex and unusual wine. Bonarda contributes dark color and fruit without requiring high alcohol. Syrah adds to the complexity through earthy notes and spices. Cabernet Sauvignon gives the wine structure.
The result is an opaque, brooding wine with lots of dark fruit in the nose (cassis, blueberries), hints of black pepper, and medium tannins in the mouth but with an undeniable backbone. The finish is long and redolent with the fruit in the wine.
Serve Colosal now with red meat, particularly fatty meats such as rib-eye or strip steak. Salt on the meat will help ameliorate the tannin sensation in the wine if you prefer that. Or, keep for 3-5 years to allow the tannins to soften. As a new wine, Colosal’s ageing track record has still to be established. It would be interesting to put away a case and drink just one bottle a year.