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Wine Review: Argentinian malbecs becoming ‘darling reds’

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Editor’s note: Malbec World Day was celebrated this month, on April 17.

I am in no way becoming anti-American, anti-California or anti-anything, but our nation is being deluged with foreign wines, mainly from Spain, Chile and Argentina. Because of rising prices here and the usually lower cost of some foreign wines, it’s served as an impetus to import them.

Among the popular imported wines are those of Argentina, which is known for the malbecs that are quickly becoming the “darling red.” They are gaining this exalted position not only because they are fine and interesting red wines, but because they are, in almost every case, more affordable than their California counterparts while offering equal enjoyment. I have often written never to associate price with quality, and I still do because many of these bargain basement malbec wines are really very enjoyable and a perfect fit wherever a red wine is called for.

Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec ($9.99)
Made to be bold but still smooth, this wine is soft on the palate, and the aroma offers plum and black cherry with a touch of black pepper. The flavor brings smoky and earthy notes first, as well as some strong berry and chocolate flavors and finishes with spicy oak and a burst of vanilla. This wine will pair perfectly with all your comforting winter foods such as melted cheese, stews, mushrooms and red meats. The way I enjoy these wines is with a French or Italian baguette and a small bowl filled with a good olive oil for dipping.

Don Miguel Gascon Argentina Malbec ($15)
Another producer of quality malbec wine beautifully displays what it and the malbec grape are capable of when made by dedicated vintners. Being a typical malbec, the wine is inky, almost black in color and displays the aromas of blackberry, plum and black cherries with a hint of mo - cha in the background. Cherries, plums, cinnamon and coffee are the dominant flavors along with the added complexity provided by a hint of oak. This is truly an excellent wine with the charm and bearing of a modern classic. This wine will prove why malbec is being adopted by many red wine drinkers.

Trapiche Broquel Malbec ($14.99)
The grapes for the Broquel were selected from the Trapiche estate’s single vineyards that are 3,500 feet in elevation. “Broquel” means shield and symbolizes family heritage, so it’s a great example of the legacy and quality Trapiche has embodied in its wines since 1883. Expect an intense purple-red color with ruby hues, then aromas of fresh red and black fruits, floral notes and earthy minerals, with an elegant touch of smoke. It’s rich and spicy on the palate, providing a long and pleasant finish.

Trapiche Medalla Malbec ($19.99)
Created to celebrate Trapiche’s 100-year anniversary, the Medalla was Argentina’s first premium wine. The single varietal wines were aged in new French oak barrels and present an intense purple color with tones of violet. Concentrated aromas of red berries, plums, cherries and raisins, highlighted by notes of toast, coconut and vanilla from the aging, are the hallmarks of this offering.

Elsa Bianchi 2021 Malbec ($12.99)
This wine is an excellent example of Argentinian malbec. It is a medium-bodied, deeply colored red wine that exhibits slight traces of violet in the aroma along with a rich, dark fruit flavor accentuated by cherries and pomegranates. The Elsa Bianchi 2021 can serve as the perfect accompaniment to steak, fish and chicken (grilled or served with soft sauces) and cheese. Feel free to drink this wine now or store in a cellar for a couple of years to gain in its softness and complexity.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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