A while ago, I posted some commentary on a few predictions made by Robert M. Parker, Jr. about the future of the global wine trade. One of my comments which generated a lot of conversation here at Vinography was my comment that while I understood Malbec's prominence as a varietal in Argentina, and its long history of use in Bordeaux, I had actually never had a Malbec that I really liked. Sure I'd had some that were powerful and clearly made with care, but most of them were over-oaked, very tannic, and wholly unbalanced.
A number of readers agreed with me, but there were some definite champions of the varietal here and elsewhere.
Having an open mind, and a true desire to see what the fuss is about, I've been drinking a few here and there, but sadly, did not have any worth writing about. Until last night, when I opened this wine I grabbed on my way out of the wine store about a week ago. One of the reasons it caught my eye was a short note posted above the wine on which I was able to read the word 'stainless.'
A-ha, I thought, here's a wine that might actually show me what Malbec really tastes like. And folks, that's exactly what this wine will do.
Named after the "humble ant," one of the few creatures that can survive in the difficult soils of the vineyard, this wine is one of several produced by a winery named Altos de Medrano, an estate jointly owned by Alberto Antonini, Marc De Grazia, Antonio Morescalchi, Attilio Pagli, Alan Scerbanenko and Antonio Terni all of whom are relatively well known Italian winemakers. These gentlemen are making a splash in Argentina, after some of their initial efforts gathered high scores and much acclaim from the international wine press. In addition to the Malbec (of which they also make a Reserve wine) Altos produces Syrah as well, thanks to the capable vineyard management of Carlos Vasquéz, who used to tend the vines at Catena, which is arguably Argentina's most well known producer.
This wine is fermented in stainless steel, and then aged for nine months in mostly stainless, with a little oak, and then bottled without stabilization or filtration, leaving us with a very pure expression of the Malbec fruit flavors.
A deep garnet color in the glass this wine has a very pleasing and aromatic nose with aromas of tobacco, cherry cola, and earthy mushrooms. In the mouth it is dominated by black cherry and cola flavors, with elements of blueberries. The wine has imperceptible tannins, and a nice acidity. The finish is reasonably long and integrates a hint of nutmeg into the aftertaste.
This isn't a particularly complicated wine, so don't expect it to do amazing things with your food, but it will be a lively accompaniment to pastas and meat dishes, as long as they don't have too much garlic or spice. Try it with portobello "steak" sandwiches with gorgonzola butter and red pepper vinaigrette. Go easy on the vinaigrette however -- food with too much vinegar can also make the wine seem lackluster.
Overall Score: 8
How Much?: $11
I got mine at my local K&L.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
2016 Pinot Days Tasting: June 18, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/29/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 22, 2016 Vinography Images: New Life Warm Up: The Soils of Alsace I'll Drink to That: Olivier Humbrecht of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Warm Up: Prohibition I'll Drink to That: Winemaker Dan Petroski of Massican Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/22/16
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune