More Than Malbec
Argentina and Malbec go hand in hand. Argentina hitched its wagon to the Malbec grape decades ago and rose to wine prominence. Nowhere else does this soft, flavorful grape achieves the same greatness.
I’m a Malbec fan, but like others, I suspect, my fire has cooled. Nowadays the Malbec has to be something special to catch my attention.
As I was passing through a grocery store recently to pick up my morning muffin, I spotted a shopping cart loaded with wine. I learned the wine shop was being reorganized and all the wines were 50% off. Better yet, the cart had been filled with someone who knew little about wine.
I picked up a couple of bottles of Châteauneuf du Pape at a steal and two of the Santa Julia 2017 Mountain Blend Reserva. I paid $7 each, quite a deal for a red wine Reserva.
Sip On The Smooth Side
The wine is a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Franc. For me, the addition of Cab Franc is what tipped the scales and prompted me to purchase the wine. On its own, Malbec can lack structure. Cab Franc has the earthiness and the spice to balance the blend.
The Santa Julia winery is in the foothills of the Andes Mountains and uses sustainable farming practices. The Mountain Blend grapes come from vineyards between 3,100 and 4,600 feet above sea level. We’re always found high elevations to render grapes with more concentrated flavor.
The Reserva designation in Argentina is relatively new, taking effect in 2011. The term Reserva is given to reds which have been aged in oak barrels for at least one year. For whites, the duration is six months. While a wine can get oak aging, in some cases that might mean oak chips or oak staves. Reserva is for barrel aging only.
The Mountain Blend is a wine that would be suited for a large party or casual dinner for two. Even at full price, you can buy multiple bottles and not go broke. It is full and rich from the first sip with deep dark berry notes and some vanilla. The Cab Franc adds a bit of signature pepper without the annoying vegetal notes. The tannins are soft and lush, making this a pleasure to sip.
You’ll enjoy the view from the top of this mountain.