Malbec
stumbleupon
delicious
digg
facebook

Malbec

The Fifty Best Malbec Tasting of 2016

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 20 recent release Malbecs with 17 members of our wine judging panel. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the wines were poured into fresh wine glasses from new sealed bottles and served at room temperature. Only ice water and white peasant bread were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded based on a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Bronze medals awarded for this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The countries of origin are identified for each brand. Prices indicated do not include tax.



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

The Angel Oak
2011 Celestial Malbec

(Argentina) $70

Grapes for this 100% Malbec were fermented in new French oak barrels, then aged in other new French oak barrels for 23 months before bottling.

Aroma: Cherry, blueberry, blackberry, berries, currant, stewed plums, kirschwasser, flowery, grassy, dry grasses, licorice, baking spices, chilies, spicy, pepper, earthy, vanilla, leather, smoky, oak, woody.
Palate: Deep berry, raspberry, rich blueberry, cherry, black cherry juice, black cherry with dry spice, pomegranate, juicy, orange zest, tangy woody citrus, violets, smoke, leather, tannic, good acidity.
Finish: Grapefruit, cocoa powder, crushed black pepper, spicy, acidic, soft, smooth, feels great in mouth, balanced, nice, well balanced.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

The Angel Oak Celestial Malbec

 



Colomé
Estate Malbec 2013

(Argentina) $20

Grapes for this 100% Malbec wine hailed from three high altitude vineyards in the Upper Calchaqui Valley in Argentina’s Salta Region. Following fermentation, the wine was aged in French oak barrels (20% new, 80% used) for 15 months prior to bottling.

Aroma: Cherry, black currant, strawberries, macerated berries, plum, black plum, stewed plums, sweet flowers, vanilla, mocha, Coke, earthy, clay, smoke, nice magenta.
Palate: Cherry, black cherry, strawberry apple, orange peel, carrot, deep root vegetables, greens, dill, slight herbaceous, vanilla, powdery, oak, woody, earthy, tobacco, tangy, bold tannins.
Finish: Plum, spice, peppery, woody, tangy, minerality, soft, complex, elegant, a delight.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Colomé Estate Malbec



Steele Wines
2014 Writer's Block Lake County Malbec

(Kelseyville, California) $17

For this wine, grapes from the Red Hills Appellation of Lake County were fermented at cool temperatures using natural yeasts, after which the wine was aged in equal parts of French, American and Hungarian oak for 12 months prior to bottling.

Aroma: Cherry, cherry compote, blackberry, pomegranate, floral, grassy, light vanilla, milk chocolate, café-au-lait, cola, cashews, almonds, sandalwood, sweet oak, spicy, pepper, tannins, smoky, traditional style.
Palate: Cherry, dark cherry, black cherry, raspberry, tutti-frutti, chocolate cake, chocolate milk, sweet spice, clove, pepper, tangy, great balance and body, finesse.
Finish: Black cherry, apple, fruity, prune, black pepper, dry wood, oak, smooth, very intense, interesting, amazing.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Steele Wines Writer's Block Lake County Malbec



Jed
2013 Limited Release Malbec

(Argentina) $22

Hand-picked grapes from Mendoza’s cool Uco Valley were used to make this wine. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for 22 months in French oak (20% new) prior to bottling (without fining or filtration).

Aroma: Mixed berries, blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, black cherry, cherry, cranberry, cassis, pomegranate, orange peel, flowery, lavender, summer, grassy, cedar, leather, red slate, earth, faint smoke.
Palate: Juicy berries, blueberry, black cherry, cherry, currant, pears, sweet plums, citrus, vanilla, chocolate, cocoa, tobacco, spice, pepper, rich oak, dry wood, some tartness, acidic, screams for rare meat, complex fruit, fruit forward.
Finish: Raspberry, lemon peel, bitter citrus, vegetal, spice, dry wood, smooth, well rounded.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Jed Limited Release Malbec



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Trapiche
2013 Broquel Malbec

(Argentina) $14

For this wine, hand-harvested grapes (100% Malbec) from Uco Valley were fermented over 20 days in concrete and stainless steel vats, after which the wine was aged for 15 months in French oak barrels.

Aroma: Raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, cherry, plum, canned peaches, fresh flowers, herbaceous, balsamic, sage, forest floor, fragrant woods, musky, chocolate, smoke, rainy.
Palate: Blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, black cherry, cherry, black plum, luscious plums, rhubarb, grapefruit, tangy, light pepper, mineral, chocolate, earth, smoky.
Finish: Fruit driven, violet, tobacco, spice, white pepper, mineral, kiss of oak, very 80s, balanced, smooth, soft, velvety.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Trapiche Broquel Malbec



Château Lagrezette
2011 Malbec

(Cahors, France) $30

This wine was made from a blend of Malbec (87%), Merlot (12%) and Tannat (1%) from 20-30 year-old vines. Following fermentation of separate lots, the wine was aged for 18-20 months in new oak and “second-pass” barriques, then lightly filtered and bottled.

Aroma: Dark cherry, raspberry, plum, café-au-lait, mineral, black pepper, wood, soil, earthy.
Palate: Cherry, raspberry, berries, cassis, currants, plum, dark fruit, oak, wood.
Finish: Mint, flavorful, rich, smooth, layered.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Château Lagrezette Malbec



CarinaE
Homage Malbec 2010

(Argentina) $26

This 100% Malbec was produced by slow, cool fermentation of hand-harvested grapes grown on 85-year-old vines in Cruz de Piedra, Maipu.

Aroma: Raspberry, black cherry, cherry, zesty plum, gooseberry, sweet currants, ripe fruit, prunes, pungent lemon, vanilla, floral, slight dill, eucalyptus, spicy, black pepper, earth, oak barnyard.
Palate: Dark berries, tart blackberry, plum, cherry, kiwi, prune, chocolate, spice, black pepper, peppery, meaty, dry wood, smoke, medium tartness, firm tannins, would complement a steak.
Finish: Cherry, plum, hints of stone fruit, macerated berries and peaches, white pepper, soft, dry wood, chewy tannins, traditional style, well balanced, well integrated, nice, friendly.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



CarinaE Homage Malbec



Maipe
2015 Malbec

(Argentina) $13

Made from 100% Malbec grapes, this wine was fermented in temperature-controlled steel vats over 10 days, with 10% of the wine aged in American oak for 3 months prior to bottling.

Aroma: Brambly berries, teaberry, cranberry, iron cherry, red currant, pomegranate, dates, raisins, chocolate, sage, nutmeg, floral, forest floor, smoky, rich.
Palate: Cherry, black cherry, cherry vanilla, dark plum, dark berry, blackberry, old vine fruit, raisin, spice, black pepper, licorice, toast, dry sherry, smoke, earthy.
Finish: Cherry, strawberry, plum, raisin, fruity, herbal, raw vegetable, mineral, smooth, soft.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Maipe Malbec



MEVI
Bodega Reserva 2012

(Argentina) $19

This 100% Malbec was produced from grapes grown in the Maipu Region of Mendoza. Following traditional fermentation, the wine was aged in oak barriques for 10 months prior to bottling and aged in the bottle for 6 more months prior to release.

Aroma: Blackberry, sweet raspberry, blueberry, cherry, sweet flowers, herbs, cedar, coffee, mocha, leather, earthy, wet leaves, smoky.
Palate: Ripe dark berries, blueberry, berry, cherry, black cherry, sweet plum, sour apple, oaky, cedar, woody, earthy, smoky, acidic, some tartness.
Finish: Blueberry, berries and cream, dusty, bright acid, complex, smooth, well balanced, perfectly balanced, very nice.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



MEVI Bodega Reserva Malbec



Reustle
Prayer Rock Vineyard 2013 Malbec

(Umpqua Valley, Oregon) $31

Hand-harvested grapes for this 100% Malbec were from Prayer Rock Vineyard, noted for south facing slopes, warm summer days and cool evenings. Following fermentation, using various strains of yeast, the wine was aged for 10 months in French and American oak before bottling.

Aroma: Blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, berry, red plum, cherry, black currants, white peach, unripe stone fruit, light tomato, brown sugar, chocolate, cocoa, root beer, sweet flowers, white pepper, sage, chalk.
Palate: Strawberry, blueberry, complex plum, light plum, dry cherry, bubblegum, guava-cheese danish, honey, herbs, flat cap mushrooms, mineral, straightforward.
Finish: Mushrooms, herbal, chalk, complex, pleasant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyard Malbec



Colomé
Autentico Malbec 2014

(Argentina) $22

This wine was produced from 100% Malbec grapes grown on 90-year-old vines at a high altitude (7,545 feet above sea level) in the Upper Calchaqui Valley of Argentina’s Salta Region. Following fermentation (using indigenous yeast) and aging, the wine was bottled without filtration.

Aroma: Raspberry, blueberry, black cherry, cherry, plum, plum wine, grapes, cherry blossom, kirschwasser, soft flowers, slightly herbal, spice, nutmeg, rosemary, leather, wet clay, faded earth, oak smokiness.
Palate: Black plum, juicy plum, cherry, blueberry, sweet berries, pear, cherry lime rickey, chicory, sweet tobacco, traditional in style.
Finish: Ripe strawberry, black cherry, bubble gum, flax, spice, tart, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal




Colomé Autentico Malbec



Ayni
Malbec 2014

(Argentina) $40

For this wine, 100% Malbec grapes from 9-year-old vines were primarily fermented in stainless steel tanks (80%), with 20% fermented in closed French oak barrels. The wine was then aged for 12 months in new French oak barrels.

Aroma: Blackberry, raspberry, cherry, plum, soft currants, blueberry, violets, olives, black pepper, cola, chocolate, milk chocolate, leather, tobacco, earthy, savory.
Palate: Raspberry, blueberry, black cherry, cherry, slightly tart plum, pears, Kool-Aid, sage, oak, plantain, black pepper, wood barrel, tobacco, earthy, low aromatics, firm tannins, soft, tangy.
Finish: Ripe strawberry, blueberry, black currant, spice, oaky, dusty, rich, smooth, soft, clean.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Ayni Malbec



Jed
2012 Malbec

(Argentina) $14

This 100% Malbec was produced from grapes grown in Mendoza’s Uco Valley – noted for high altitude and cool temperatures. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for 10 months in used French oak before bottling.

Aroma: Blackberry, blueberry, cherry, sweet currants, dark plum, date,. grapes, hibiscus, violet, faint baking spice, cinnamon, almond, horchata, chocolate, café-au-lait, cola, olive, tobacco, earth, musky, smoke, oak.
Palate: Sweet plum, blueberry, brambly berries, cherry, currants, blood orange, pear, light prune, dates, vanilla, chocolate, dill, spice, pepper, smoke, dry wood, mineral, earthy, oak, tangy.
Finish: Cherry, lemon zest, citrus, olive, spice, white pepper, mineral, smoky, fresh, smooth, soft, tangy, impactful.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Jed Malbec



Château de Haute-Serre
Cuvée Géron Dadine de Haute-Serre 2011

(Cahors, France) $49

Made from grapes grown at an altitude of almost 1,000 feet above sea level, this wine was slowly fermented under temperature controlled conditions, followed by almost 18 months of aging in oak barriques.

Aroma: Blackberry, raspberry, cherry, coconut, sweet vanilla, cola, berry bushes, dry ruby red, flowers, green bell pepper, olive, cinnamon, bark, oak, tobacco, leather, earthy, tangy, bourbonesque.
Palate: Raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, berries, cherry, apple, kiwi, juicy, vanilla, olive, pepper, spice, nutmeg, cocoa, woody, leather, mineral, some intensity.
Finish: Cherry, black currant, kiwi, bitter sweet, sweet peppers, pepper, dry wood, mineral, cottony, nice, pleasant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Château de Haute-Serre Cuvée Géron Dadine de Haute-Serre



Young Inglewood
Estate Malbec 2013

(St. Helena, Napa Valley) $80

Grapes for this 100% Malbec were hand harvested in the cool, early morning hours. Following fermentation in open-top vessels, the wine was aged for 16 months in French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Aroma: Raspberry, cherry, black cherry, black plums, rhubarb, coconut, butter, spring flowers, dandelions, floral, sweet spice, baking spice, woody, oak.
Palate: Blackberry, brightly sweet raspberry, blueberry, brambly berries, sweet berries, cherry, plum, lemon drops, perfume, toasted oak, woody, tree bark, moderate intensity, tannic, soft, tangy, flavorful.
Finish: Violets, fruit forward, cinnamon, coffee, oak, woody, earthy, tart, fresh, light, sits well in mouth, nice, very soft.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Young Inglewood Estate Malbec



Trapiche
2014 Oak Cask Malbec

(Argentina) $10

This wine was produced from hand harvested grapes (100% Malbec) grown in alluvial soils. Following maceration and fermentation over 25 days, the wine was aged for 9 months in French and American oak barrels.

Aroma: Cherry, black cherry, raspberry, boysenberry, plum, flowers, cucumber, fresh vegetables, dill, white pepper, café-au-lait, smoke.
Palate: Blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, plum, l pear, emon zest, vanilla, woody, soft, pleasant.
Finish: Cherry, prune, chili, well balanced, round, soft, smooth, mellow, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Decero
2014 Malbec, Remolinos Vineyard

(Argentina) $17

This wine was fashioned from hand-picked grapes grown in a vineyard noted for sandy, clay loams over gravel. Following temperature-controlled fermentation over 10 days in small stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged for 14 months, primarily in French oak barrels (90%), with the remaining 10% aged in the stainless steel fermentation tanks.

Aroma: Cherry, black cherry, blackberry, ripe plum, candied plums, blood orange, flowery, mocha, leather, black wet leaves, smoke, wood fire, earthy, oak.
Palate: Cherry, black cherry, plum, blackberry, raspberry, wild strawberry, apple, pear, agave, olive, cilantro, spice, woody.
Finish: Raspberry, apricot, candied, spice, cinnamon, smoky, leather, woody, smooth, balanced, big, so different, a very exciting wine.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Decero Malbec



Chakana
Estate Selection Malbec 2014

(Argentina) $27

Grapes for this 100% Malbec were primarily from Agrelo Vineyard (80%) that is noted for clay soil, with the remainder (20%) from Altamira Vineyard. Following fermentation, the wine was aged in new and one-year-old French oak barrels for 18 months prior to bottling.

Aroma: Cherry, tart cherry, raspberry, black currant, blueberry dust, ruby red grapefruit, flowery, violets, cocoa, pepper, dusty leaves, petrichor, earth, wet clay, leather, oak.
Palate: Blackberry, blueberry, earthy raspberry, cherry, plum, plum jam, orange rind, light citrus, vanilla, clove, light spice, black pepper, white pepper, leather, tart, tangy, tannic.
Finish: Black cherry, stewed fruit, lemon zest, tobacco, hot peppers, woody, wood barrel, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Chakana Estate Selection Malbec

 



Zonte’s Footstep
2014 Violet Beauregard Malbec

(Langhorne Creek, Australia) $13

Grapes for this wine hailed from two blocks in a single vineyard located in the heart of Langhorne Creek. Following fermentation in stainless steel vats and open fermenters, the wine was aged for 13 months in new and well-seasoned “hogsheads” (large vats – each with a capacity of 63 gallons).

Aroma: Cherry, tart cherry, black cherry, fresh currants, blueberry, blackberry, dark fruit, floral, violets, grassy, tomato vine, allspice, licorice, slate, cigar smoke.
Palate: Cherry, black cherry, blackberry, raspberry, cassis, unripe strawberry, gentle blueberry, black plum, citrus, olives, pepper, pines, tangy, medium acidity, youthful.
Finish: Pomegranate, lightly spicy, a bit tart, tannic, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Zonte’s Footstep Violet Beauregard Malbec

 



Château Chevaliers Lagrezette
2011 Malbec

(Cahors, France) $22

This wine was produced from hand-picked grapes (88% Malbec, 12% Merlot) grown on 15 year-old vines in the Caillac Vineyard, located in the Lot River terroir. Following fermentation, the wine was aged in a combination of new and used barrels for 14 months prior to bottling.

Aroma: Blackberry, berries, cassis, plum, marmalade, violet, green pepper, cocoa powder, smoky, flint.
Palate: Blackberry, blueberry, plum, currant, cocoa, vanilla, herbaceous, green pepper, spicy, oak, old leather, flavorful.
Finish: Spicy, flavorful, pleasant.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

 



Château Chevaliers Lagrezette Malbec

 

 

 


 

Malbec and the Resurrection of France's Forgotten Wine

Malbec, sometimes called Côt, Pressac and Auxxerois, is originally from France where it grows in the Sud-Ouest. At first, the grape enjoyed popularity in Saint Emilion and other Right Bank areas. In the 1700’s, Sieur Malbek brought the grape from the Right Bank and planted it in a wide variety of terroirs in the Medoc . Due to the success and popularity of Pressac in the Left Bank of Bordeaux, the grape was renamed Malbec in his honor.

It had become a common blending grape as one of Bordeaux's original five main wine grape varietals. Some estates used as much as 50% in their blends during the earlier part of the 1800’s. However, because of the grapes’ poor resistance to weather and pests, it never graduated to a top French variety. After the phylloxera epidemic, in Bordeaux, much of the vines devoted to Malbec were destroyed. And after a bad frost in 1956, Bordeaux pretty much ditched the malbec grape. Instead, it found a new home in Mendoza, Argentina in the Andes mountain range, where a nostalgic French botanist, Michel Pouget, originally planted Malbec in 1868 by order of the mayor.

The dark colored, thin skinned Malbec grape requires specific climatic conditions to fully ripen. The terroir in Mendoza, with its dry climate, sunny weather and high elevations is perfectly suited for Malbec, since Malbec thrives in high elevation areas with wide temperature shifts (i.e. hot days, cold nights) allowing the grapes to produce more acidity necessary to create great tasting and long lasting wine.

Argentina reinvigorated Malbec as one of the top 18 noble grapes. Mendoza leads production with over 75% of all the acres of Malbec in the world, second to France, then the United States. Today, very little Malbec is planted or used in the blends for Bordeaux wine. The majority of France’s Malbec is now from Cahors, a small town midway between Bordeaux to the west and Côtes-du-Rhône, where the grape continues to enjoy a long history in the region that could date back to the ancient Romans. In the appellation of Cahors, an AOC law dictates that no less than 70% of the variety be included in the blend of Malbecs. Malbec currently grows in seven countries and continues to increase in popularity. There's about 100,000 acres of Malbec grapes planted worldwide.

Malbec wine is a deep purple-red that is nearly opaque, similar to Syrah and Mourvedre. However, Malbec wines will often have a bright magenta rim. So look for that magenta-tinged rim. Argentinean Malbecs are known for its plump dark fruit flavors of blackberry, blueberry and black raspberry; and smoky finish. The Cahors wines (typically identified by the appellation, not the varietal) offer a more rustic style, with chalky tannins and notes of violets, blackcurrants and cherries. The full bodied Malbecs offer a great alternative to higher priced Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Malbec is a food friendly wine, which is easy to pair and match with foods. Most Argentinians will agree that Malbec is perfect with grilled or barbecued meats and sausage. With its rich textures and spicy personality, Malbec also matches well with beef, veal, chicken, pork, sausage, cured meats and dry cheeses, braised or stewed dishes, and most spicy cuisines.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This section of the website is intended for visitors 21 years of age and older.
If you are not of legal drinking age, please exit by clicking here.


Please drink responsibly!

Comments or questions welcome, please e-mail to: editor@thefiftybest.com

 

 



 
Fifty Best > Wine > Malbec
© TheFiftyBest.com        home   |  Advertise   |  Privacy   |  Awards   |  Legal   |  About   |  Logos   |  Sign-Up   |  Contact       HappyViper