I don’t recall the very first glass of Argentinean Malbec I ever had, but I am guessing it was in the early 2000’s. I likely picked it from a menu based on the description of it coming from a wine region on the rise and having been made from a well known French grape.
I do know that the empty bottle I pulled off a display shelf earlier today was one of the first ones I ever bought to enjoy at home. I vaguely recall pairing it with a steak covered in a red wine gorgonzola sauce that I was fascinated with at the time. I just took a photo of the label (above) to completely ferment this memory.
Recently I have ventured to make my own Malbec. Anytime I set off to make a new wine I am either inspired by a wine of the type and style I have already enjoyed, or I go out and find as many as I can to provide sensory cues that will be my guide. Argentinean Malbecs had not disappointed me up to that point so I set my sites on a few.
Early in April of 2010 we had dinner at Le Milsa, a Brazilian churrascaria, in downtown Montreal. I had read several very positive reviews of the Bodega Norton Malbec but found it was not available in NH where I live. My dinner partners approved of the selection when I requested it, and reiterated their approval upon tasting it. I found it to be subtle and focused, making a great match with the grilled meats I was enjoying.
Later in the month we opposed the Bodegas Escorihuela Don Miguel Gascon Malbec 2008 and the Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Lunlunta 2007. The intensity of the Catena selection resulted in it being less talked about. I decided to shoot high and try for the Catena’s style fully knowing that my source of fruit and winemaking experience would be the reasons why I would or wouldn’t get there. The Gascon was a weird one, reallyonly being pleasurable with a lot of breathing time.
My homemade Malbec is coming along nicely, but it will need much more time before I can decide how well I have done.
My relationship with Argentinean Malbec goes back a few years and I hope it will extend for many more. The quality and selection of these wines is consistently increasing, providing all the fodder for continued adventures. If you haven’t yet embraced Malbec from Argentina, get to it!