highly rated malbec home tasting

by Stevie on September 2, 2009

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Recently we’ve “re-discovered” malbec. I’d forgotten how wonderful that Argentinean red could be. When I last wrote about this wine, I promised you readers a home tasting of more selections and, after a bit more warm up to this glorious subject, here we go.

vistalba and mendel Argentine malbecs

vistalba and mendel Argentine malbecs

While we were drinking these wines at home, I also started reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series that’s been such a big hit. The tops of each book boast that they’re a number 1 series on the New York Times bestseller list! That is impressive. I’m on book five now and I really get it! This series is incredibly exciting! You do know that a movie is coming out next year based on the first in the series, The Lightening Thief? Maybe I’m sailing off course from malbec now, but the reason that I’m thinking of these wines in the context of the Percy Jackson series is: one, the Greek god of wine, Dionysus, plays a significant role in the books; and two, all of these malbecs are such dark opaque purple colors that they remind me of that line from the Iliad, I think, about “sailing the wine-dark sea.” If the Trojan War took place in South America than the seas would surly have been filled with delicious dark purple malbec!

Anyway, here’re our reviews. I purchased all of these wines from my local wine shop, K and L, in San Francisco. They were all rated by the professionals at 90 points or above. I only got wines less than $25 per bottle, to try to stay in line with me recession wine spending budget. Though they were all good, we clearly liked some over others. Of course that’s why you should all be having your own wine home tastings. Taste is subjective and you cannot always rely on the opinions of others.

2008 Achával Ferrer Malbec Mendoza, Argentina WS 91 $18.99
This was an opaque purple with aromas of leather and unripe fruit. It has a fruity flavor with plums most prominent as well as some caramel notes on a long peppery finish. This wine was just good, not amazing, though we liked it better than the Fabre Montmayou.

La Posta and Achaval Ferrer Argentine malbecs

La Posta and Achaval Ferrer Argentine malbecs

2007 La Posta del Viñatero Malbec Pizzella Vineyard, Argentina WS 91 $14.99
It was opaque purple with toasted wood chip notes on the nose. The official tasting notes for the wine describe “pure purple fruit” and it’s true, the wine did taste purple, though perhaps that just means grape-y in this case; rather than eggplant, blueberry or plum flavored. It was a robust peppery wine but the drama of its color did not meet our taste expectations in this basically ordinary wine.

2007 Fabre Montmayou Malbec Gran Reserva RP 92 $18.99
This was a beautiful dark purple color. It had minimal aroma. The taste was of dark fruit and “scorched earth,” just like the professional tasting notes indicated. The finish was long but this wine did not leave us wanting more.

2005 Vistalba “Corte B” Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina WS 92 $19.99
Yep, this was dark purple, too. “I don’t smell much,” Hegui exclaims. It was not fruity, had a medium body that finishes on peppery notes with a touch of currants. The wine tasted “flat” to us rather than round and robust. One of the K and L clerks that I like claimed to love this wine and thought the 2006 Bodegas Colomé Estate was too much, saying that wine was “two bottles in one.” I guess that I think that he’s right but got the emphasis on which was better backwards.

Fabre Montmayou Argentine malbec

Fabre Montmayou Argentine malbec

2006 Bodega Mendel Malbec Mendoza, Argentina RP 92 WS 91 $22.99
Dark purple with good legs, the wine smelled mainly of tannins. It had juicy stone fruits, medium body and surprisingly only a mild astringency. It had a lot of fruit on the finish. We liked this wine.

So there we have it. Of the five, we really enjoyed just one or two of the wines. I really love home tastings though. It helps you refine your palate and gives you the chance to really get the hang of specific kinds of wine pleasantly and easily. You should try this at home soon.

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My Year on the Grill September 2, 2009 at 6:47 am

Greetings…I found your blog via the FOODIEBLOGROLL.

I really enjoyed this posting. Keep up the good work

Velva September 3, 2009 at 3:55 am

I enjoyed your home tasting wine reviews on Malbec. I love wine! I belong to a local wine club and we get together monthly to discover new ones or enjoy old favorites. Your blog post is giving me new ideas! Thanks for sharing.

Heguiberto September 3, 2009 at 4:13 am

Grill man

Thanks for your comment. Do you grill a lot of fish and veggies? We’d love to hear more about that on this site.

Heguiberto September 3, 2009 at 4:15 am


I think that wine clubs are excellent ways to learn more about wine. I’m usually a member of one or two wine clubs at a time and it has really helped me broaden my palate.

Whit September 3, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Nice to see Malbec has re-gained favor with you. I like your recession style budget. I too just picked up some “hard to pass up” deals at Costco. I had some luck with one before. Its always nice to find an everyday wine that doesn’t break the bank. I’ll let you know more once I’ve had the chance to sample.

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