Wine of the Week: 2014 Bodega Colome Estate Malbec, Salta HAV
“It is not often that you see life and fiction take each other by the hand and dance.” ― Lawrence Thornton, Imagining Argentina
The wine of the week is here, it comes from a fantastic producer sitting on the highest plot of vineyard-covered land on the planet, or so I'm told. Malbec is once again in the spotlight; I uncorked a bottle of Dona Paula just last night, a 2007 which had been sitting in my cellar for several years, in a word, wow. Powerful wines need time, the time to evolve, to express the beauty that only time in the cellar can release. But I digress, tonight's review is about the beautiful Bodega Colome Estate Malbec, a wine of similar style, soul, and substance.
Some wine enthusiasts may only be familiar with the grapes name, just knowing they like it, and see much of it is imported from Argentina. It's is interesting to note that while Argentina is not the ancestral home of this grape, it has made itself at home in Argentina, becoming its signature grape. A brief history, the long and short of it, the grape mostly originated in the Bordeaux region of France, where it's one of the five grapes allowed to be blended in red wines produced there. Some will undoubtedly argue, "no, no, it hails from Cahors, France," Malbec's 'real' ancestral home and goes by a couple other names there, Côt and Auxerrois. Oh, okay, settle down, the point is, that Malbec, a refugee grape, has a new home now.
The styles from Cahors is typically much leaner, undeniably rustic and abundantly tannic, and when compared its Argentine counterpart, wine which is typically, rich, lush, and what some would even call opulent. There's much truth to support that assertion, from the experiences I'd say that's spot on in general. While the Malbec grape may have French heritage, I'd suggest, it has evolved, now sporting Argentine soul. I've still not made a trip down to Mendoza, tho it remains high on the bucket list of wine regions I simply must visit.
2014 Bodega Colome Estate Malbec, Salta HAV: In the glass, this wine was deep in appearance, and the core was a ruby red, the rim a deep violet. Clarity wise this wine was, slightly cloudy toward opaque. On the nose, this wine was nicely aromatic, blackberry, blueberries, a vegetal note which quickly burned off, just a brief whiff of VA, which also burned off, spice and mint. The taste dry, the acidity was balanced, the body was a medium plus, and the tannin was a chewy medium plus. On the palate is where this wine shined, blackberry compote, espresso, tar, cigar box, pencil shaving, and gravel. The finish was long and lasting. This wine would benefit significantly from further bottle aging, and if opened early, it should be well decanted to unlock its aromas and flavors fully. By far the best wine of the evening and the best wine uncorked in the wines of the southern hemisphere class. Highly recommend, I scored this wine 93 points. Decant for best results, pair with a fatty aged ribeye and enjoy the hell outa wine, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Bodega Colomé Estate Malbec, Salta, Argentina is one of Argentina's oldest wineries and also one the highest elevations to found in the country where grapes are growing, giving this wine elegance and foundation for long-term cellaring. It's argued it's the highest in the world at 3,111 meters. Researching this wine, I've discovered the winery was purchased by The Hess Collection in the Napa Valley. No wonder this bottle was a success, much of what Hess does is top notch, even their basic wines are above average.
A brief look back at the history of the area revealed that the Calchaquí Valley was known as the 'Kakan' to the indigenous peoples. For thousands of years, native inhabitants formerly farmed the acreage where the vineyards sit today. Fast forward a few hundred years, the Incas moved in, but then the Spaniards came along and took it from them after ninety years of struggle. The old Colomé winery was founded in 1831, probably by the Spanish governor of Salta, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi, his daughter, later planted Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Now fast forward to the eighties, and Raúl Dávalos, a direct descendant of the Isasmendi-Dávalos family, is successful in acquiring the family's old farm in 1982 and kept it for 19 years until the Hess Group purchased it in 2001. With the Hess fortune behind it, the property was completely updated, including buildings and equipment all of which have been thoroughly modernized. Keep your eye on this producer, and sample other wines from their portfolio.
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