Though southwestern France is the site of Malbec’s roots, Argentina is where the grape has decided to build its home and its future. Mendoza to be precise in this case. Malbec has been planted all over Argentina with varying degrees of success, but thus far it seems that the dry, high altitude terrain of Mendoza and its sand and red clay soil is just where Malbec wants to build the big, spreading villa and in fact has…
So within this new(ish) heartland for the grape (Malbec in Argentina dates to the mid-19th century), the producer Achaval Ferrer has, with this wine, decided to produce a wine that reflects, rather than a celebrated terroir or a winemaker’s personal style, the Malbec variety itself. The “technical” word for this idea is “typicity” which can be defined as a grape variety’s essential, native characteristics – the ones that seem to assert themselves above place or human personality. Without putting too fine a point on this concept, it’s a sort of “Platonic Ideal” of any given grape variety. In this drinker’s opinion, mission accomplished, and well done too. This bottle nicely captures and magnifies the balanced, round, velvety mixed berry personality of the fruit of this vine.
I served this BIG (14.5% alcohol, but without a TRACE of heat or clumsiness) wine with a grilled skirt steak with black bean and rice and a sauce originating from Argentina’s continent-mate Venezuela called guasacaca which, with a few changes here and there, is a somewhat thinned guacamole.
Achaval Ferrer Mendoza Malbec 2010
Very saturated, opaque vermillion/purple color. “Modern” and clean aromas of wood smoke, blueberry, clove, plum, dried dark flowers, and a touch of medicinal herbs. The palate is big and dense but still quite elegant, with a pulpy, juicy, and rich mouthfeel and a polished structure framing bold, chunky/chewy flavors of black cherry, juniper berries, cocoa, and black tea. Big, warm and long plump blackberry finish.