Wine Guy: A tale of three Malbecs

The Wine Guy uncovers three Malbecs in honour of Malbec World Day

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Everyone, start your asados! The forecast is looking swell and Saturday, April 17 marks the return of Malbec World Day.

While Malbec is not exclusive to Argentina of course, for modern day intents and purposes the grape is certainly associated with this South American wine juggernaut. Is there a better grilling culture than Argentina’s asado?

I’m open to tasteful (and tasty) debate, but in the meantime I’m cracking a bottle of Malbec and lighting the charcoal in celebration.

La Linda 2018 Private Selection Old Vines Malbec, Argentina ($19.99, #598896)

Malbec is quite a versatile red grape. You’ll find it as the foundation in a wide range of reds, from fun and fruity to assuredly astute and robust. The style of Malbec poured should really be dictated by the meal being served, and this bottle of old vine, high elevation-grown La Linda Malbec hits a nice middle point. Full of opulent dark fruit it’s rich but sinewy, full-bodied yet taut, concluding with a fruity, dry and grippy finish. This is an easy Malbec to bring out to pair with grilled steaks, grilled eggplant — pretty well grilled anything!

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Bottom line: B, Everyday grilling partner

Trumpeter 2018 Rosé de Malbec Extra Brut, Argentina ($27.99, #15266)

In a fun and creative twist, turns out Malbec actually makes a fine sparkling wine. Actually, to be precise the Trumpeter Extra Brut is a sparkling rosé. Indeed it pours the palest of pinks, but it certainly packs a flavourful punch. This was a pleasant surprise, full of great berry and floral aromatics complemented by a fun, creamy mouth feel and a crisp and classy finish. This traditional method sparkler is the curve ball of Malbecs, certainly the unexpected bottle to stump your wine savvy friends, and a fantastic glass to sip while you grill and (subsequently) dine on grilled salmon or pork kebabs.

Bottom line: A-, Crisp and classy

Benmarco 2018 Expresívo, Argentina ($47.99, #79483)

Of course Malbec in its most traditional form is a team playing grape, a tried-and-true blending partner. It is, after all, one of the five main red Bordeaux grapes. For their top end Expresívo bottling Benmarco maintains Malbec as the star but adds some Cabernet Franc to the mix (in an 85/15 proportion for the most recent vintage). The result is impressive: opulence meets elegance, ripe fruit bookended with minerality and fine grained tannins leading to one nicely integrated, elegant package. This is a slow sipper, to be enjoyed with a hunk of aged cheddar or a well-marbled rib-eye.

Bottom line: A, A statement bottle


The Swirl: Malbec World Day celebrations

Unfortunately, for obvious reasons there are no in-person tastings taking place to celebrate this year’s Malbec World Day. That said, there are special initiatives still afoot. During the month of April, three local retailers will be pouring on an added Argentine flair with special displays and special offerings. Check out Everything Wine, JAK’s Beer Wine Spirits, and Marquis Wine Cellars for more details. And note that Marquis is donating $1 from every bottle of Argentine wine sold in April to the B.C. Hospitality Foundation.

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