For reasons that nobody explained to me, it has been a week of tasting outstanding Malbecs. All of these came from Argentina, and some ranged over $100 for a bottle. However, for our Wine of the Week we generally look for something less than $20 and with Argentine Malbec the field is target rich.
Our recommendation this week is 2011 Amancaya Gran Reserva Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon from the Mendoza region of Argentina. It is actually a 70% Malbec-30% Cabernet Sauvignon blend from a winery called Bodegas Caro, which is a joint venture between the branch of the Rothschild family that owns Château Lafite in France’s Bordeaux region and pioneering Argentine winemaker Nicolas Catena.
This wine is perfect with steak, prime rib, lamb or barbecued brisket. The color is an intense opaque ruby and, as you raise a glass to your lips, the aroma surges out revealing blueberries and oak. In the mouth, it has bright, forward dark blueberry fruit and plums along with hints of thyme and black pepper. The Cabernet contributes just a hint of greenness that enhances the complexity, preventing the wine becoming a fruit bomb without being so pronounced as to make it taste of green peppers. It goes down leaving a long, pleasing finish. This wine will keep a few years but is enjoyable now on account of tannins that are soft and ripe and the fruit flavors already exhibiting some complexity.
Amancaya is available at Spec’s on North Central Expressway and Walnut Hill for $13.89 (cash/debit) and represents good value at that price.
Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that this is the second week running we have featured an Argentine Malbec. They really are that good at the moment to warrant it. However, next week I promise something very different.