malbec, Malbec, MALBEC!

by Stevie on July 30, 2009

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posing in the Andes in front of Aconcagua

posing in the Andes in front of Aconcagua

Ah, malbec! Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. This is what we thought a few years ago while vacationing in Argentina with a few friends. At that time the American dollar was very strong and the Argentine economy was in the dumps. We felt rich! As a result, of course, we gorged on food and wine. These days Argentina is famous for its malbec. They make a variety of whites, though that’s a bit ho-hum if you ask me. Why have white when you can drink red, I always say?!? And though they produce other reds, why mess with the best? It was pretty much malbec at lunch, dinner, sometimes in the afternoon, during wine tasting and once in a while in the evenings. We were there for about nine days—several in Buenos Aries and a few in Mendoza, a famous wine region near the Andes and the border to Chile. At any rate, you see the pattern emerging here. Malbec daily, which is a very good thing in theory, but in practice, it led me to grow really very over that fabulous wine. By the time we left for Brazil, I was convinced that the French, god bless them, had gotten the name right: malbec means something like ‘bad beak’ which I suppose one could loosely translate into ‘mouth.’ So there you are: I was sick of the bad mouth.

Argentina is a wonderful country if you haven’t had the good fortune to go there. The capital is just like they say in the guide books: very European seeming. It reminded me oddly of Montreal or perhaps Toronto, two Canadian cities that are also often described as very European. I wonder if that’s meant as a compliment or as an insult? Couldn’t these places be creative enough to develop cities unique to their own regions or what? You’ll never hear anyone saying that Los Angeles or Dallas reminds them of places in Europe! Isn’t it good to do your own thing sometimes?

Hegui enjoying the Buenos Aires nightlife with some handsome Argentines

Hegui enjoying the Buenos Aires nightlife with some handsome Argentines

Anyway, back to the trip. Buenos Aires went by in a blur. This could be because I was horribly ill with a dreadful cold that I caught on the plane. We did see a lot and we had a mutual friend who had friends in the city. They met us at a silver shop that one of them runs. Already that’s cool. Argentina got the name supposedly because the Spanish discovered silver there. But these very nice guys also arranged for us to go out to some trendy hot spots for dinner, drinks—malbec of course—and dancing. Wow!

In Mendoza, we went wine tasting one day with a private tour. The next day, that same tour company drove us up into the Andes to see the famous Aconcagua. It’s the tallest mountain anywhere in the world outside of Asia. Really awesome!

Anyway all of this rambling is to say that I’ve gotten back in the Argentine malbec groove with our recent tasting of a great malbec.

try some Argentine malbec very soon!

try some Argentine malbec very soon!

2006 Bodegas Colomé Estate Malbec Valle Calchaquí Salta, Argentina:

This wine supposedly was recommended by Wine Spectator as a “Smart Buy” and placed number 38 on their Top 100 wines of 2008 list. They rate it at 92 points. I spent $22.99 for the bottle. A bit over budget for my $20 limit but as a little Tuesday night splurge, it was worth it.

The wine had an opaque dark purple almost inky color that looked intense. Hegui thought that it smelled of “heat; hot like the desert.” I still have no idea what that means but I love the description. It tasted almost bloody like a good syrah. It had a lot of body and a moderate finish. Not pure malbec, it also had 7% cabernet sauvignon and 8% tannat.

It was a great wine! I’m almost ready for a malbec home tasting sometime soon.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

RitaTower August 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Wow, Argentina is on my list of things to do before I kick the bucket! Although, I could afford this bottle you mentioned and try a little tast of Argentina before actually going there. I enjoyed your post very much, and the nightlife looks like a lot of fun!

César October 14, 2009 at 8:36 am

Sounds like Argentina was a good trip. Glad you met Franco and Marcelo; I knew you’d like them.
Nando and I are planning a similar trip around the Holidays, and I’m printing this article to keep as reference. Haven’t heard from you in such a long time. Do you EVER get to NYC these days? I’d love to see both of you. Of course you’re welcome to stay with us.

Miss you!
César

Heguiberto October 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm

César

Thanks for the lovely message! We wish that we could get to New York more. When are you and Nando coming here to stay with us?!? San Francisco is pretty fabo, even though it’s not New York. We’ll take you both wine tasting. The vineyards are better here.

We loved our visit with Franco and Marcelo. They’re wonderful hosts and marvelous people. Tell them to write us, perhaps over the blog? What do you think of the blog, by the way? It’s a labor of luv! Miss you so much!

Steven and Heguiberto

PS David and Carlos say hello, too.

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