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20 Oct 2008 Malbec Madness!
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As part of a birthday party celebration for a wonderful friend, Mary Pat, we did a tasting of 7 Malbecs brought by Mary Pat’s husband, Wolfgang.  The 7 Malbecs were:

1) 2007 Achaval Ferrer, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($18.99)
2) 2006 Bodega Catena Zapata, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($16.65)
3) 2007 Elsa Bianchi, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($7.99)
4) 2005 Belasco De Baquedano, Llama, old vine Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($11.99)
5) 2005 Famiglia Bianchi, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($16.00)
6) 2007 Dominio Del Plata, Crios De Susana Balbo, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($12.99)
7) 2006 Dominio Del Plata, Ben Marco, Malbec, Mendoz, Argentina ($17.99)

The wines were tasted blind accompanied with a Thanksgiving style feast of turkey with a light mole sauce, Cornish game hens, spicy zinfandel cranberry sauce, roasted root vegetables, a green salad (ruby grapefruit, avocado, pomegranite seeds and mixed greens).  There were 15 people tasting the wine; as you might expected there was no clear #1 selection of the wine.

I ranked the wines in the following order of favorite to least:
#4, #2, #6, #5, #7, #1 and #3.

The remarkable thing about the tasting was how close all the wines were to each other in taste profiles and mouthfeel.  #4, #2, #6, #5, and #7 had fairly equal concentration and mouthfeel with #1.  #3 was the only wine that had a noticable drop in mouth feel from the others.  The bright fruit flavors of the 2007 changed only slightly when compared to the 2005. 

Malbec from Argentina is fantastic value if you are looking for an easy drinking bold red that goes well with spicy meat dishes or game birds.  The tannic structure of Argentinian Malbec is much softer than Malbec from the Cahors region of France.  The winemaking style in Argentina is clearly being geared for people who enjoy ‘New World’ styled wines — fruit forward, soft tannins and moderate acidity.  If you are looking for a hardier version of Malbec, try a well aged Cahors and you will not be disappointed at all!