Tag Archives: Malbec

Your Super Bowl Wine: MALBEC!

5 Feb

It’s the day of the game. The BIG game.

The one we all watch together in a friend’s house. The SuperBowl.

You might be a football fan, you might not. But this is one of the biggest TV phenomenons in the world. And everyone eats and drinks while the game and the halftime go on, and this is the one time of year when we carefully watch and comment on the commercials!

So what are you drinking? Did you think about it?

Malbec.

Malbec the THE Super Bowl wine in my opinion. It’s got more spice than merlot and more heft than cabernet sauvignon. It’s a Harley-Davidson in a glass. It’s got more manliness than beer, ale, or lager (but not stout!). And it drinks just as well without food!

Yes, It’s a wine that pairs well with or without food. But when paired with food, it’s flexible and as powerful as the New England Patriots staring down a kickoff. Yes, it will pair with grilled meats. Yes, it will pair with vegetables and cheeses. Yes, it will work with anything spicy. So your nachos, pizza, wings, onion dip, guacamole, cheese dip, quesadillas, burgers, hot dogs- they will all taste even better with malbec.

So you’re thinking, “Ok, smartypants, WHICH malbec do I buy?”

I thought you might ask!

Here are my top picks in Malbec:

AR Blend from Locations (predominantly Malbec blend) $18/bottle. If you didn’t read my review, you can check it out here. Dave Phinney kicked some serious butt with his Locations brand, making them $20 or under, and this mostly-malbec AR won 95 points at the 2016 Sommelier Wine Challenge. My brother-in-law and I downed this bottle in a flash. A better wine value is hard, if not nearly impossible, to find. You might actually thank me- I’ve already received notes from a half-dozen readers who bought the wine after reading my review who loved it!

Alamos Malbec: Consistently 89 or 90 points year after year, you can find this on a grocery store shelf in addition to top wine stores for under $10. A tremendous value that delivers well, I’d put this up against a similarly priced six-pack any day of the year.

Catena Malbec – I’ll admit, I am a huge fan of Catena Alta, the reserve wine from the same maker, which sells closer to $50-60/bottle and is usually rated in the 94-95 point range. That’s a porterhouse pairing, for sure! But for Super Bowl Sunday and under $20, the standard Catena Malbec from the Uco Valley is a textbook 90+ point Malbec . BOOM.

MMM Mendoza Malbec Enrique Foster’s MMM has also been a consistent, classic Argentinian malbec ever since I started drinking the varietal. This is probably the single most popular malbec in higher-end American restaurants, as it is popular, versatile, easy to pair, and still an affordable value with restaurant markup.
Enjoy the Super Bowl! Let me know what you end up drinking. And remember to be safe! If you know you’ll be drinking, make alternative travel plans and please, don’t drive. SuperBowl Sunday is among the most dangerous days to be on the road. So please, be careful out there!

locations-ar5

à votre santé!

Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2012

17 Apr

Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2012, Mendoza Argentina. 14.5% ABV, $18/bottle street. 

In celebration of Malbec World Day, here is a mouth watering delight!

Medium dark purple in color. On the nose, blackberries, iris and hint of old leather. The first taste is of massive dark fruit with heat behind it. Black plum and dark chocolate burst forward into the top palate, leaving a richly rinsed sensation behind. Secondary flavors are cassis, coca, sour cherry and toasted oak with notes of granite, tobacco leaf, and almond on the medium finish. An obvious  easy pairing with grilled steak on the night I popped the cork, it also works with savory dishes and was a great foil to a spicy ginger/pepper stir-fry I put together after work on night #3. Great flavors over several days. Well done! Solid value at this price point.

This wine is big and bold, yet balanced. Ultra is a good name for it- the flavors are like a rocket taking off. This is a fun wine to have on hand, and one I’ll come back to again. If you like a huge malbec, this is one to stock up on, and a perfect wine for bold flavors, or to enjoy around the game room with the guys.

Kaiken Ultra

à votre santé!

Un, Deux, Trois: Three Wines from Paul Mas and the Languedoc Region

16 Aug

I often rant about how first and second growths are impossibly expensive. To find great value today you have to seek out  lesser-known wines that have rich history and huge local presence that have not yet exploded globally.  That way,  you can acquire good pricing on a wonderful product that amounts to great value. This is one of those tales. Through a winding story we won’t tell, I met up with a fellow wine lover who also adores country wines and especially wines from the Languedoc region. I was nervous I wouldn’t care for the wines I got to taste as happens sometimes, but read on, and you’ll see how I responded. Special thanks to Michelle and Anne for your help and support! -JvB

Un

Paul Mas Estate Pinot Noir 2011

List price  $14/bottle. 13.5% ABV. Samples provided by McCue Marketing.

Light ruby in color with a nose of fresh, sharp cherries, hints of cola and saffron. Cherry and red plum are the dominant fruit flavors on the palate. Holding the wine in my mouth, I pondered the experience: an unexpected, ideal expression of the grape. The clean finish made this wine feel like a pricier burgundy to me, but without the historic wooden barrel effects. Notes of gravel and chalk appear on the medium finish. Overall, my response is a great balance of fresh red fruit with a good acidity and tannin. Juicy, tart, and mouthwatering, you can drink this all day without getting bored, or start the evening with it and move on to pair it with lighter fare up through a fish course.

photo-4

Deux

The Paul Mas Estate Malbec 2011 

List price  $14/bottle. 13.5% ABV.  Samples provided by McCue Marketing.

Bright violet with a purple center and ruby edging. Ripe red fruit on the nose with herbs and wildflowers. On the palate: soft essence of cassis, boysenberry. Short notes of clay and lime and a long, tart finish.  Concentrated, singular and enjoyable, I expected this was a single vineyard before I looked at the label. Paired perfectly with spicy marinana sauce, strong cheese, and spicy food- such as Thai or Mexican, I made fajitas specifically on the second night of tasting this and was wowed by how nice the pairing was. The bright acidity and ripe fruit will allow the wine to cut through the palate when served with powerful flavors such as duck or a bourguignon sauce. Another surprising value from winemaker Jean-Claude Mas. 

PaulMas Malbec

Trois

Chateau Paul Mas Clos de Savignac Grés de Montpellier 2011

List price $27/bottle. 14.5% ABV. Samples provided by McCue Marketing.

Deep purple color with violet edges in the glass; the nose exhibits a lush blend of dark blue and black fruits. On the palate, the initial rush of blackberry, black plum, and currants are met with spice, licorice, oak, and a green vegetation note that hung across my top palate. Limestone, gravel, and mocha notes appeared during the lengthy, oaky finish.  This is a wonderful old world blend with modern efficiency. Speaking of the blend, it is 50% Mourvérdre, 30% Syrah, and 20% Grenache.

PaulMas Montpellier

Centuries of rustic charm on sun-beaten vines meets finesse with the relaxed tannins pulling forward after the liquid has moved below. Powerful, invigorating, and complex are my initial overall impressions, and they stayed consistent as I came back to this wine time and time again. Over four days the nose and fruit aired nicely and developed without losing quality. You can enjoy the 2011 now at this ripe young age, but the smart buyer will pick up a case or three hold this six to eight years and taste it to see how the tannins and fruit mellows over time.  I’d think this wine would cost at least twice as much for the quality, so enjoy it before everyone starts to stockpile and drive the prices up.

Clos de Savignac

About the winemaker: Jean-Claude Mas is a fourth generation winemaker who began work with his family’s winemaking at the age of three. He ascended to run the family business (begun in 1892) in 2000, and has expanded the acreage and updated the technology to mass production, including pneumatic pressers and stainless tanks. The brand Arrogant Frog are among his most visible successes and he has been named International Mediterranean Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young and the Domain Paul Mas was named Winery of the Year by England’s The Guardian Newspaper under his helm.

Jean-Claude Mas - Chai à barriques (1)

Paul Mas wines are carried nationwide by BevMo and other fine wine retailers. In the NYC area Paul Mas wines can be found at Beacon Wines & Spirits, London Terrace Liquor Shop, Phillipe Wine & Liquor, and 120 Wine & Liquor to name a few locations in Manhattan.

More about Domain Paul Mas can be found at their website,  www.PaulMas.com.

à votre santé!

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