It's a place that I would love to visit myself someday, see the place where great Malbec is made, talk with the winemakers, producers and anyone who has a hand in making the wines of Mendoza what they are today, which is winetastic.
With the US Market now drinking more wine than ever before, I personally I'm glad to see Malbec-Man save the day, by providing budget conscience, well made wines that have become real thirst-slakers. So yes in a manner of speaking Malbec-Man is here to save us all from high priced, under-whelming vino.
How you may ask, in the form of today's Malbecs from Mendoza. Overall these wines represent lively acidity, lovely wild red and dark berry flavors and aromas. In general there's also plenty of mouth-filling fruit ripeness, which is sure to please the "California" palate. On top that, it has a great quality-to-price-ratio. Thus causing me to conclude that for many of the wine-swirling and quaffing public, that Malbec-Man has indeed saved the day. Thank you Malbec-Man.
In today's review Malbec-Man can be seen sitting on a high-peak over looking Mendoza's Uco Valley, one of this regions highest elevations and height is a key element in what makes Argentine Malbec so special. It can be said that in many ways that grapes are like people where“Your attitude determines your altitude in life" so to the Malbec grapes of Bodega Antigal Winery growing on the foothill slopes of the [altitude]Andes [3937 feet above seal level] exposed to the sun's greater ultra-violet effects, grows a thicker-skin [attitude] and with that produces far more aromatics and elegant tannins, more-so than their counters parts across the pond in Cahors, France.
So time to jump out of the wine-wagon, as we have arrived at our destination and let's visit oh so briefly with the wonderful folks of Antigal Winery and Estates, which has four vineyard locations in Mendoza. Their winery sits on grounds of what use to be 19th century wine-making operation, that was abandoned, but has found a new life with Antigal, which has furnished the old building with a state-of-the-art wine production facility which incorporates gravity-fed technology into the wine making process.
A system my wonderful friends Denner Vineyards employs in their excellent wine-making techniques in Paso Robles. A great place to visit and an even better winery to keep your eyes on the next time your shopping for vino. So without any further blathering on here, it's time for the review of the 2008 Antigal Uno Malbec . Which is a pretty easy wine to find on any shelf, as it has a fat-faux-brass number one attached to the front of the bottle.
Swirly, Sniffy-Sniff and Slurp: In the glass a dark [nearly opaque] shimmering ruby colored core, leaning toward purples hues. Sticking my fat half-Irish nose into the glass, nearly muted aromas of black berry, peppery spice, and a bit of earthiness. On the palate this wine shows both power and purity, with dark currant, fig and dark chocolate notes spiked with brighter blueberry and a slap of dark cherry tones. The medium-sized finish drips with dark red and black fruits, yet manages to stay fresh from the first pour to the last drop.
What's the Score: I gave this wine 89 points, I know this score can be the kiss of death, but it didn't have enough wow factor to get a better grade. That said, perhaps with a little more time in the bottle it will smooth out some of those youthful edges. Like Madonna once sung in a scene from Evita, "dont' cry for me Argentina, this Malbec is just too young" oh-wait, that's not how it went? Ha, okay well this wine is still good and deserves a place in your empty wine glass.
Where to Buy and Price: If you would like to grab this wine in a retail location, you can stop into your local Trader Joe's who is selling it for $19. But of course I've seen it as low as $15 at a few online purveyors like K and D, which really drives up the QPR, but you will have to add in the cost of shipping to price per bottle.
Other Voices: This is the place where I let 'other' opinions attempt to influence you or perhaps to give my review a little more credibility [not that I think I really need it] but so be it. So The Amateur Gastronomer had this to say about the Uno Malbec, "The wine is elegant and well balanced, with a lush mouthfeel and a lingering spicy finish." I think this means that he liked it.
Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as a sample for the review process.
My Recommendation: A very good wine for the money, I would definitely grab a few to stash away in the pantry or your cellar until next year, when I believe it will be drinking rather fabulously. It you wait too long, you will miss the opportunity. That's it for today folks, stay tuned as next time our journey will take us back to the Iberian Peninsula to see a Spanish beauty. Until next time sip long and prosper, cheers everyone!