“Ooh, I LOVE Malbec!”
We all know someone who just can’t help but squeal that phrase whenever someone else mentions the grape’s name, or utters the name of a country that is remotely South America. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I somehow doubt those people (as they shall be referred to from here on out) would ever exclaim the same phrase if served an elegant Right Bank Bordeaux with a high percentage of their alleged favorite varietal. Frankly, I’m pretty sure you could serve them anything – as long as it was red, juicy, and high alcohol.
So now, when I hear “Malbec”, I think about over-extracted, big, soft, jammy wines with questionable balance and little in the way of interest or intrigue. This little gem, though, is different.
Yes, it’s from Argentina. Yes, it’s varietally labeled as Malbec. But it’s only 13.5% alcohol, and it’s NOT from the hot and arid desert that is Mendoza. Here we have something different, something elegant, something with refinement and complexity. It’s a woman in a lovely gown in a room full of halter tops and mini skirts. It’s Bodega Noemia de Patagonia A Lisa Malbec 2012. Further south than the omnipresent wines from Mendoza, A Lisa is a beautiful wine with pristine red fruits, integrated oak, and layers of aromatics. Delicious. The winery itself is rather small, nestled in the Rio Negro Valley, where, during the growing season, days average 86 degrees and nights go down to a crisp 45 or so. Due to the fluctuation, the wines easily ripen fully, but at a slow and steady pace, without getting overripe or losing the grapes’ vibrant acidity. Oh, and if you are one of those people who like to follow ratings, it’s got 92 points – all for around $20!
If you are someone like me who generally avoids malbec because you don’t fancy out of balance and uninteresting wines, I definitely recommend you give Noemia de Patagonia’s A Lisa Malbec a chance to redeem the grape’s image. You just might find yourself telling people that you love Malbec! 🙂