Let’s talk about a red wine you can have on hand for just about any meal: burgers, grilled chicken, pizza, portobello mushroom burgers, even full-flavored fish like salmon.
We’re talking about Malbec, the ubiquitous red that is one of the great wine marketing success stories of recent decades and that has become almost synonymous with Argentine wine.
Walk into any wine store or supermarket and you’re certain to find several of them, most in the under-$20 category that has come to define Malbec from Argentina (although there certainly are bottles that are much more expensive).
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In the basic (but very good) category, there is Trapiche’s just released 2021 “Oak Cask” Malbec from Mendoza, a screw-cap bargain at about $10 or so. This is one of the better inexpensive Malbecs out there, with complexity that belies its modest price tag.
Notes of plum, blueberry, and blackberry are accented by touches of vanilla and cocoa from nine months of aging in oak barrels. Medium-bodied with a nice tannic grip, it’s a crowd-pleaser with alcohol of 13.5 percent — the kind of satisfying, easy-drinking Malbec to have on hand as your house red.
With the popularity of South American Malbec, thriving and ripening beautifully as it does in the Argentine sun, it’s easy to forget that the grape was transplanted from France. It’s the signature variety of Cahors in the Southwest, is known as Côt in the Loire Valley, and is still found in some Bordeaux blends — getting new life and recognition in France thanks to its runaway success in Argentina.