Welcome to Swill or Swell, a weekly series where I taste grocery store wines and let you know if they’re worth the buck or just meant for the drain!
CAVEAT! As you read this, please keep in mind that wine is subjective! This means that everyone enjoys different things and something I like might not be something you like and vice versa. I’ll be as objective as I can with facts about the wine’s quality, but in the end if your opinion differs from mine...that’s perfectly fine! Wine is only worth drinking if YOU like drinking it!
LET’S INTRODUCE THE WINE
I was surprised to learn after posting an Instagram poll that many of you haven’t tried this bold red wine from Argentina! When we picked this out, I kind of assumed that everyone had already tried it, mainly because it’s a staple wine in my group of friends. But you know what happens when you assume...
Anyway, I’m excited to introduce you all to this popular Argentinian wine: Alamos Malbec.
ALAMOS MALBEC FUN FACTS
Let’s talk about the grape varietal first: Malbec. While the grape has gained fame in Argentina, it originated in France. It was initially primarily used in Bordeaux blends, but now most of France’s Malbec is in a region called Cahors. Here, the grape typically produces a wine with more savory aromas like tobacco, coffee, and meat. You can also expect a bit more tannin from a Cahors Malbec.
Of course, at one point, Malbec was introduced to Argentina, where it now thrives. The grape is not resistant to weather and pests, which is why Argentina now leads production of Malbec with over 75% of all acres of Malbec in the world!
You may be familiar with Argentina Malbec today, but it was a completely different story just 30 years ago. While Argentina has a long history of winemaking, stretching all the way back to the 16th century, it was only about 20 years ago that they started exporting a significant amount of wine. Before that, economic and political turmoil prevented the wine industry from growing or achieving much.
Interestingly enough, the producer of this wine has survived through all the turmoil and is still successful today after 100 years of making wine. Their current winemaker, Lucía Vaieretti, grew up in Mendoza where her family has tended vines for more than 40 years. She attended the most prestigious school of viticulture in South America and became head winemaker in 2016.
Alright, let’s move on to the tasting!
WINE TASTING NOTES
Look: Deep bold purple/ruby, magenta rim
Smell: Blueberry, dark cherry, blackberry, vanilla, cinnamon
Taste: Well rounded tannin, nice crisp acidity, dry (little to no sugar), medium alcohol
Food Pairing - Blue Cheese (brings out the fruitiness), Steak kabobs on the grill with peppers and mushrooms, lamb or pork chops with lots of herbs (mint, oregano, etc)
Occasion - Dinner party with friends or family, trying to stay warm by the bonfire
Rating - One thumb up - Swell!
Overall, I can understand why this wine is so popular among my friend group! I was pleasantly surprised by the balance of acidity and tannin. Typically you think of white wines having a crisp acidity, but this Malbec really matched that description as well! The alcohol wasn’t overwhelming and the mix of fruit and oak flavors lead to a great finish.
Want to learn more? Check out my Instagram every Thursday at 5PM PST for a new episode of Swill or Swell! Have a wine you’d like me to taste? Write your request in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram!