Sick of gifting the same old boring Cabernets every holiday season? Want something different and exotic to impress your friends and family? Well look no further. Argentinian MALBEC is the wine for you!
Argentina's finest Malbecs come from the foothills of the Andes Mountains and from vineyards reaching altitudes of 10,000 feet in elevation. These world-class wines make unique and interesting gifts. And the best news is they cost a fraction of the price of comparable wines from California and France.
The flavor profile of Malbec is an all around easygoing real crowd pleaser with flavors and aromas of cherry, strawberry and plums. The tannins are not only soft, but the wine still has this amazingly round juicy body that develop lovely coffee, vanilla, and chocolate flavors the more time it spends in oak.
Malbec also does amazing with all types of food, grilled meats especially. My favorite pairing is a juicy Malbec paired next to a juicy grilled steak slathered in chimichuri.
Even if you aren’t a meat eater you can enjoy Malbec with things like pasta with tomato sauce as well as a variety of hard cheeses like cheddar, Gruyere & Manchego.
2014 Casarena Naoki’s Vineyard Malbec,
Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina
Naoki’s vineyard is located in what the producers of Casarena call a hidden gem in Agrelo, Lujan de Cuyo. The vineyard is 3,120 feet in elevation all hand harvested by the dedicated workers of the Casarena family. The spontaneous malolactic fermentation is followed by 12 months in French oak. On the nose this wine is beautifully floral with hints of plum and fresh red fried with a bit of spice at the end. Limestone outcropping in the vineyard creates the mineral texture and fresh almost light mouth feel for this big bold Malbec and still giving it a polished tannic finish.
$27.99 per bottle
2015 Chakana Ayni Malbec Vino de Parcela Gravas
This wine is already aged for 12 months in 3000 liter oak founders and only 2000 bottles of it are produced. This wine comes from on of the smaller plots (only about 20 hectors) in Paraje Altamira, Valle De Uco. The Ayni Vineyard was planted on virgin soils and the number of small rivers that cross the vineyard increases the complexity of the soils. This wine is only produced with the sections of the vineyard where the calcium carbonate gravels come to the surface and the vines from amongst them with no soil. This deep purple wine has a bit of a leathery and smoky aroma. With the addition of soft peppery flavors as well as black fruit and slowly integrated tannins gives this big bold Malbec a nice balanced finish.
$48.99 per bottle
2017 Llama Old Vine Malbec,
Alto Agelo Valley, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
The vines for this wine are over 100 years old. The nose on this wine gives off red and dark cherries with hints of violet. The wine is aged for 6 months in French oak barrels and you are left with a wine full of body and a round structure with burst of berry and a finish of toasted oak.
$12.99 per bottle
2015 Colomé Estate Malbec, Valle Calchaqui, Salta, Argentina
Big red wine lover - this is your wine! A combination of fruit from four high altitude vineyards: La Brava (5,740'), Colomé (7,545' 150+ year old vines), El Arenal (8,530') and Altura Maxima (10,207' – the highest altitude vineyard in the world), this hand-made 100% Malbec is simply stunning. This vintage wound up on the Wine Spectator Top 100 at #18. Due to high UV exposure and large day-to-night temperature swings, high altitude fruit is unique and special. Big, bold, smooth mouth-filling flavors and intense aromas of dark berries, flowers and plum predominate, and there is a juicy purity to go with a big, clean finish and overall elegance. And this vintage has a bit more freshness and verve than the 2014. The wine sees 15 months of 10% new French oak, so the fruit, not the oak, is the star. Intense, smooth and round, this combination of bright, clean fruit and velvety power is really hard to find. Enjoy!
$22.99 per bottle
2014 Ruca Malen Reserva Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
This wine really knocked my socks off when I tasted it – supple, intense and subtly powerful. There is an intense dark plummy nose and a mouthful of powerful, but not heavy, dark fruits. The fruit is very smooth and fascinatingly complex. There is good natural acidity and a clean long finish with fine tannins and complexity. And everything is in balance and very supple and elegant. A fine addition to our contingent of Malbecs.
$21.99 per bottle
2016 Zuccardi Serie A Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
A perennial favorite here at The Wine Country, this impeccably made Malbec reflects the earthy purity Sebastian Zuccardi covets. This vintage features great balance in the classic Argentine style, with a nice savory edge and bright berry fruit. The tannins are smooth and easy and it retains purity and complexity you don't find in a wine this price. It finishes softly and with nice complexity. Grill a steak and have at it.
$11.99 per bottle
2015 Zuccardi Q Malbec La Consulta & Vista Flores Vineyards,
Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina
This wine is always a store favorite, just like it’s little brother, the Zuccardi Serie A Malbec, and this vintage of the Q Malbec is off-the-charts good. The Q stands for quality and this bottling from Zuccardi certainly is. The high altitude vineyards, between 3200 and 3600 feet altitude, are some of Zuccardi's finest and the hand selected grapes see the utmost care. Bigger and richer than the Serie A - with oodles of supple, spicy rich fruit, with blueberry and cassis shining through. It has good natural acidity, so it remains quite fresh in the mouth. Seeing 12 months in used French oak barrels and 6 months in bottle before release, the wine is silky and smooth with soft tannins and a long finish. The 2015 has more power and elegance than the excellent and immensely popular 2014. If you like your red wines pure, ripe, powerful and smooth but with structure, this is a can't miss wine.
$20.99 per bottle
Here are some Malbec Blends that also hit the perfect gift marker.
2015 Chakana Estate Selection Red Blend, Valle de Uco, Argentina
70% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc. Your nose will be filled with aromas of flowers, blackberries, camphor, and forest floor. This full body wine will fill your mouth with rich dark fruit and exotic spices with a bit of a mocha finish.
$28.99 per bottle
2015 Amancaya Reserve Red Blend, Mendoza, Argentina
This smooth, rich and ripe, well oaked 85% Malbec 15% Cabernet Sauvignon blend is the result of a collaboration between iconic Argentine producer Nicolas Catena and world famous Domaine Rothschild (Lafite) of Bordeaux. Truly the best of the old world and the new, this is all about big, smooth and nicely oaked Argentine fruit with a hint of Bordeax thrown in. There's plenty os dusty, dark fruit, with earth, leather and that fine Lafite oak floating over the top of everything. There is good structure and balance with those fine tannins and nice acidity. The finish is firm , with hints of cocoa and vanilla. A must try for those that like big, smooth, well structured red wines.
$19.99 per bottle
2014 Caro Red Blend, Mendoza, Argentina
This is a remarkably priced, world-class red blend from a remarkable international collaboration. This smooth, rich and ripe, well oaked 65% Malbec 35% Cabernet Sauvignon blend is the result of a collaboration between iconic Argentine producer Nicolas Catena and world famous Domaine Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) of 1st growth Bordeaux fame. Truly the best of the old world and the new, this is all about big, smooth and nicely oaked Argentine fruit with a hint of top notch Bordeaux thrown in. Made from hand-selected fruit and meticulously vinified, it sees 18 months in the finest of French oak from Lafite's in-house coopers. And can you ever tell there is a strong French influence immediately on the arresting nose - that amazing Lafite oak comes through as a perfumy overlay over the strong aromas of dark fruit, coffee and spices, with anise and classic Bordeaux graphite following. The strong, but oh-so-smooth, elegant and very supple fruit coats the palate without overpowering. There is plenty of dark fruit of exceptional depth and purity. And a smooth, long, supple finish with those fine French oak tannins and a hint of dark cocoa. Remarkably refined and such a satisfying blend of the old and new world. At a great price - limited - don't wait on this.
$61.99 per bottle