Savour it: April 17 is World Malbec Day

  • Ripe, bold, full-bodied and fruit-forward: the Alpasión vineyard in Uco Valley, Mendoza Province, Argentina

    Ripe, bold, full-bodied and fruit-forward: the Alpasión vineyard in Uco Valley, Mendoza Province, Argentina

  • Unique label: The Alpasión 2014 Malbec label features the fingerprints of the folks involved. The print labelled “Bill” belongs to a Bermuda resident

    Unique label: The Alpasión 2014 Malbec label features the fingerprints of the folks involved. The print labelled “Bill” belongs to a Bermuda resident

Malbec grapes have been grown in the area known as Cahors in France for many centuries and we carry five from the best-known producer.

This, however, will not be about those wines as World Malbec Day, celebrated April 17, really belongs to Argentina.

It was back in 1853 that the first vine clippings left Cahors to find a home in the New World and it was here in Argentina that it thrived; so much so, that in 2011 the Government declared an annual national day to celebrate its success.

In wine competitions, a wine is awarded a gold medal if it scores 90 or more points out of 100; 96 or above gets platinum.

Robert Parker and his Wine Advocate newsletter considers 90 to 95 “an outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character” and 96 and above rates “an extraordinary wine of profound and complex character”.

I suggest that you buy a fine cut of beef and consider pairing with one of our “golden” Malbecs from Argentina.

Here is a part of our overall selection:

Achaval Ferrer is located in the foothills of the Andes in the province of Mendoza.

The region’s desert climate and soil conditions are ideal for the development of Malbec.

Low yields, significant thermal gradients (warm days, cool nights), poor alluvial soils, low rainfall, high altitude and the pure Andes irrigation water, all work together to mature grapes that can be transformed into complex, deep and structured wines.

Their Achaval Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec 2011 placed on the Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines in the world with a score of 96/100 and this comment: “This pure, racy red exhibits a dark side, with layers of spice, graphite and maduro tobacco to the crushed raspberry, blackberry and concentrated cassis fruit. Best from 2015 through 2022.” $109.25.

Wine Enthusiast magazine had this to say about our Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard 2010 Malbec: “Laser-like cassis and black cherry aromas come with an accent of toasted oak. A pure, well-balanced palate isn’t at all pushy or heavy, while snappy, fresh flavours of raspberry and spiced plum finish racy, toasty and the slightest bit herbal. Drink through 2022. 93/100. $80.85.

Catena Alta Malbec 2014 shows a deep violet colour, with blue reflections.

The nose is elegant and complex with ripe red and blackberry fruits, notes of violets, lavender, a touch of leather, spice and vanilla flavours. The palate is full and rich with soft, sweet tannins and a silky, smooth structure. Multiple layers of rich cassis, black currant and blackberries are interwoven with hints of liquorice and black pepper.

Its lengthy finish is marked by wonderful minerality, finely grained tannins and lively acidity. James Suckling awards it 95/100 and Robert Parker 93/100. $43.75.

In keeping with the family that really instigated the modern climb to quality for the wines of Argentina ... even their regular Catena 2015 Malbec gets a “golden” 91/100 from Parker who says: “This is a complex blend that showcases the typicity of Malbec in the province of Mendoza with perfumed notes of violets and black cherries, and a touch of spices. The palate has great balance, elegance and subtleness with very fine tannins. Great value for money.” $21.90.

Alpasión 2014 Malbec has a unique label that features the fingerprints of the owners of this high-altitude Uco Valley project and what makes it even more unique is that the print labelled “Bill” happens to be on the hand of a Bermuda resident.

Bill was very happy to share with us a recent rating of this wine by the Wine Spectator — 92/100. It is ripe, bold, full-bodied and fruit-forward, with hints of cocoa and vanilla. $29.95.

The Wine Enthusiast magazine also has its annual Top 100 wines and in 2016 they included Fabre Montmayou Gran Reserva 2013 Malbec commenting: “Opaque to the eye, this is rich, heady and full of inky blackberry aromas and notes of graphite, balsam wood, tobacco and coconut. A lush, mile-deep palate offers chocolatey flavours of blackberry, roasted meat and salt. Ripe black-fruit flavours dominate a lush finish. Drink through 2020. 92/100.” $23.95.

If you do come in and browse, you will see that we have other fine wines in this Malbec category; there is just not enough room to include them all here.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit<;/i>

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Published Apr 6, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 6, 2018 at 12:03 am)

Savour it: April 17 is World Malbec Day

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