#MalbecWorldDay: Familia Schroeder, Susana Balbo, Domaine Bousquet, Flechas de los Andes, Alta Vista

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join a wine-savvy group of social media personalities and the good folks from Wines of Argentina to taste several choices before Malbec World Day on April 17, 2018. Known on social platforms as [hashtag] #MalbecWorldDay, the day commemorates President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento’s founding of the country’s first school of agriculture in Mendoza. Even though Argentina is considered a ‘New World’ wine region, this founding was on April 17, 1853. Early research efforts at the school led to the discovery of Malbec, and amongst a number of other French varieties, the grape showed promise and was well-adapted to the region. Once a key component in French Bordeaux blends, today Malbec is Argentina’s shining star.

#MalbecWorldDay Tasting Lineup 

The grape thrives in the region; particularly in the high-altitude areas that offer ideal growing conditions. The wines produced are among the most versatile and food-friendliest out there. They are generally deliciously approachable while young, with deep berry fruit flavors and supple tannins. Appealing nuances of spice, floral suggestions, and rustic notes can add complexity. For me, Malbec has become a go-to red meat wine. I recently visited a gourmet burger shop in the city that has Malbec on tap—not only a smart move but an excellent food pairing, too. And I should know. I love to grill out back; and a juicy burger and rock-solid bottle of Malbec is simply awesome. Here are several Malbec wines I recently tasted that were satisfying and quite enjoyable. Buy with confidence. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Familia Schroeder 2017 Alpataco Malbec

Familia Schroeder 2017 Alpataco Malbec (SRP $14): Named after an indigenous thorny bush (Alpataco) that embodies the spirit of resiliency, this wine is medium-bodied, streamlined, and well-balanced. It offers fresh red berry fruit flavors accented by violets and a dash of white pepper. Along with relaxed, supple tannins and sound acidity, this is a satisfying everyday red that won’t break the bank. I found it enjoyable on its own and with a grilled lamb burger. Region: Patagonia, Argentina. Other info: ABV 13.5%, 100% matured in stainless tanks, screw cap enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Susana Balbo 2015 Malbec Signature

Susana Balbo 2015 Malbec Signature (SRP $19): This is an affordable and incredibly delicious Malbec from iconic female winemaker Susana Balbo. The fruit is grown in the Finca La Delfina vineyard in Mendoza’s Uco Valley—at an altitude of 4,100 feet. The most expressive barrels make it into the signature series wines. This wine pours a deep opaque color. An inviting bouquet gives way to rich dark fruit flavors and raspberry preserve, joined by earth tones, fennel, and pretty floral notes. It is full-bodied and round in the mouth, with balanced acids and a medium-long, polished finish. A splash of Petit Verdot is added for good measure. With warm weather ahead, this should be your go-to wine for backyard grilling and outdoor dinner parties. Region: Uco Valley, Argentina. Other info: ABV 14.4%, matured 13 months in 30% new French oak barrels and 70% second-use French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Domaine Bousquet 2015 Grande Reserve Malbec

Domaine Bousquet 2015 Grande Reserve Malbec (SRP $24): This is Domaine Bousquet’s signature high-altitude Malbec. It is made from fruit sourced from their pioneering vineyard that was planted in the 1990s. This full-bodied wine pours a deep ruby color with purple tones. Firm, integrated tannins frame wild blackberries, black currant and licorice flavors swirled with a dash of smoky char and earthy tones. Balanced yet robust, this wine begs for something like a well-marbled steak. I call it a “go big or go home” kind of wine you’re sure to enjoy. Region: Tupungato, Argentina. Other info: ABV 14.5%, additions of 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 5% Syrah, matured 12 months in French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Flechas de los Andes 2012 Gran Corte

Flechas de los Andes 2012 Gran Corte (SRP $45): This wine is the result of a partnership between Baron Edmond de Rothschild and Laurent Dassault. The fruit is sourced from a high-elevation site at the foot of the Andes that was planted in 1999. Composed of 60% Malbec and equal parts Cabernet Franc and Syrah, this appealing blend is notable for its concentration and length of fruit. Rich flavors of blackberry, plum, and cassis are robust, with well-integrated oak and firm acid structure. Notes of vanilla bean and toasted spices add nuance and carry through the long, grip-filled finish. Quite a pleasure to sip, this wine can be enjoyed now or cellared; there is a good amount of potential. Region: Mendoza, Argentina. Other info: ABV 14.5%, matured 24 months in new French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Alta Vista 2012 Alizarine Malbec 

Alta Vista 2012 Alizarine Malbec (SRP $50): Situated at an elevation of 3,540 feet, the Alizarine is one of the choice vineyard areas in Mendoza. This single-vineyard bottling was introduced in 2001, making Alta Vista the first Argentinian winery to produce a single-vineyard wine. The winery owns old sites, some with vines dating to 1927. This wine pours a deep purple color. There are penetrating flavors of plum sauce, berry compote and floral perfume, intertwined with suggestions of cocoa powder and incense. In the mouth, it is richly textured with integrated tannins and ripe fruit flavors that gain on the long, fruit-driven finish. Power, purity, and concentration are balanced by a juicy, robust acidity in this first-rate wine. Region: Mendoza, Argentina. Other info: ABV 15%, matured 12 months in French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Fire up the grill! Malbec is one of the top picks to welcome warmer temperatures and the grilling season.

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