Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Captivating Malbec

Malbec was once an integral part of the Bordeaux blend. These days Argentina rules Malbec, especially from the Mendoza region. These rich, deep, intense wines are perfect for cold weather by-the-fire nights. They are intended for pairing with the thickest of steaks and hearty stews. A chewy baguette, a nutty aged cheese and a glass of Malbec is a perfect wintry supper. Best of all there are so many affordable options. The most obvious is probably Catena. Here is an example of a winery that produces a high end expensive wine along with an under $20 weekday option. But also look out for Ben Marco, Doña Paula, and the spectacular Achával-Ferrer.

Malbec generally has a rich bittersweet chocolate quality with black currant and plum notes and often a peppery finish. As Argentina has been influenced by international winemakers, the wines have become increasingly approachable. Although there are those who miss the rustic quality of the originals. If that is you, don't forget the Malbecs of Cahors.
The Cahors region in Southwest France is the ancient home of Malbec. These are dense, chewy wines with bracing tannins and earthy black plum flavors. Try one of these wines and picture yourself in a Medieval dining hall with elbows on the planks and the hunting dogs slavering below in the rushes. Okay a bit much but you get the idea. Haul out your game recipes. Santé!

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