A prestigious tasting panel of Decanter magazine tasted 121 samples of Argentine Malbec and among them, 19 wines from different wineries and regions stood out. The panel praised small details; the simpler and fruit-driven styles, but were wary of the trend towards over-concentrating, over-oaking and over-using heavy bottles. Out of 121 wines that were tasted, 3 received Decanter Awards and 16 received four stars.
Domaine Jean Bousquet, Grand Reserve. Valle de Uco, Mendoza 2009.
Complex and lifted aromatics of spice, leather, menthol and cassis. Good concentration of very attractive pure fruit and spicy oak. Has fine balance and weight and a long and satisfying finish. Real length and interest – excellent.
Vinorum, Victorio Altieri, Gran Reserva, Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza 2010
Perfumed bouquet of vanilla oak, showing classic Malbec characters. Serious and super concentrated ripe red plum fruit, floral notes, new French oak and attractive structure. Long and integrated, big, glossy and showy, but irresistible.
Flechas de los Andes, Gran, Valle de Uco, Mendoza 2009
Red and black plum, cherry, minerals and a floral perfume. Really accomplished winemaking; this is well balanced, with soft, juicy fruit, good integration of oak and young tannins. Great ageing potential. Complex.
Colomé Estate, Valles Calchaquíes, Salta 2010
Seductive aromas of violet, vanilla, strawberry and leather. Juicy red fruit and earthy flavours are surrounded by oak tannins and fresh acidity. It is linear and grippy with great punch and length. Delicious.
Fabre Montmayou, HJ Fabre, Reserva, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza 2009
Aromatic, freshly picked black cherry, spice and toast nose. Quite grippy structure, good, ripe fruit and lots of dark chocolate and mocha notes on the finish. No delusions of grandeur – just good.
Zuccardi, Serie A, Mendoza 2010
Juicy aromas of bubblegum, leather, menthol and subtle black fruit. It has lots of fresh floral fruit and purity in the mouth. Uncomplicated and a little grippy but it has a lovely character.
Finca el Origen, Gran Reserva, Valle de Uco, Mendoza 2010
Attractive bouquet of spicy oak, concentrated cassis and raspberry. A powerful style offering perfumed fresh and dried floral fruit, grippy tannins and lovely complexity. Layered and seductive with capability to age. Great structure on the length.
Altocedro, Reserva, Mendoza 2010
Interesting nose of spice, black fruit, menthol and mint – very pretty and complex. A powerful style with a mixed floral and berry fruit and spicy oak with a touch of raisin. More complex than most with good depth of flavour. Excellent.
Tempus Alba, Vero, Maipú, Mendoza 2007
Intense black fruit with some oak. Lovely juicy fruit palate – good intensity and vibrancy. Full and rich with some primary fruit showing, tannins are supple and ripe. Earthy complexity underneath.
Viña 1924 de Angeles, De Angeles, Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza 2008
Smooth and rich with integrated and mature black fruit, sweet spice, ripe tannins, lashings of oak and balanced alcohol. Long and satisfying with a long way to go. Highly drinkable, full, rich powerful wine.
Chakana, Estate Selection, Mendoza 2010
Prominent vanilla oak, black cherry, liquorice, redcurrant and violet perfume. A powerful wine with remarkably good integration of judicious oak and dark cherry fruit. Very juicy and lifted by acidity, this shows a classic New World style.
Monteviejo, Calypso, Valle de Uco, Mendoza 2009
Charming intensity of dark berry, capsicum, cherry, sweet oak and green herbal aromas. Round and attractive juicy palate with masses of sweet black fruit, lots of oak and grainy tannins. Very appealing.
Bodega Zemlia, Evolucion II, Valle de Uco, Mendoza 2009
Evolved aromas of raisins, dried fruit, oak, graphite and herbs. Dense, full-bodied and warming palate with plenty of fruity appeal and quite a long finish of fresh black cherry and violet. It has soft tannins and a lovely mouthfeel. Stylish.
Bodega Atamisque, Tupungato, Valle de Uco, Mendoza 2008
Spicy oak, clove, fig and cocoa bouquet. Very ripe, sweet black fruit and mocha flavours meld with lovely supple tannins. It has a pure, fruit-driven liquorice and chocolate length. Very rich and stylish.
Bodegas Argenceres, Lágrima Reserva, San Rafael, Mendoza 2010
Liquorice, black fruit compote, cola and new sweet oak aromas. Big, bold wine with masses of chewy, inky dark fruit and a succulent, spicy, liquorice finish. Well made with good texture and balance.
Tapiz, Reserva, Tupungato, Valle de Uco, Mendoza 2008
Aromas of baked red fruit compote, liquorice, spice and black fruit. Fabulous! A New World style with integrated oak, good concentration and great structure and vitality from ripe, clever tannins. Huge appeal.
Bodega Benegas, Libertad Vineyards Malbec, Mendoza 2009
Highly perfumed and seductive nose of toast, violets and jasmine. Fresh, juicy acidity, intelligent oak and soft tannins envelop bags of really perfumed, juicy fruit. A very sensuous wine.
Salentein, Reserve, Valle de Uco, Mendoza 2010
Attractive, evolving nose of earth, spice, herbs, game, mint and sweet black fruit. Full-bodied, black fruited, super silky and well balanced wine. Satisfying, juicy, mouthfilling and rich.
Trapiche, Single Vineyard Viña Jorge Miralles, La Consulta, San Carlos, Mendoza 2008
Spice, dried fruit, mocha, coffee, chocolate and prominent new oak aromas. Structured, juicy red fruit with creamy vanilla oak lifted by acidity and firm tannins. For big-wine lovers. Complex and interesting.