Our blind panels tasted 226 red wines from Mendoza over the past 12 months. Rated by our critic Tara Q. Thomas, here’s a selection of great malbec Best Buys from our October 2020 issue.
2018 Mendoza La Linda Malbec
87 | $12
Peppery and charry with dark-berry flavors, this feels like it was built with barbecued beef in mind—especially the burnt ends.
Frederick Wildman & Sons, NY
2019 Mendoza Toso Estate Malbec
Warmly spiced and savory, with earthy black-fruit flavors, this is rustic and satisfying; for a cheesy mushroom risotto.
Quintessential, Napa, CA
2019 Mendoza PSH Malbec
This is bright and fresh, a clean cherry-juicy quaffer to wash down pasta carbonara.
Regal Wine Imports, Moorestown, NJ
2019 Mendoza Taymente Malbec
88 | $14
A dark, meaty wine, this offers a wealth of black-raspberry and black-plum flavor in a full, satisfying texture.
Skurnik Wines & Spirits, NY
This has a refreshingly cold, crisp feel—the crunch of a just-ripe plum taken from the fridge. With flavors that are more savory than sweet—more cherry leaf than flesh—and tannins that taste of black licorice and coffee, it delivers a more serious wine than you might expect for $13.
Winesellers, Niles, IL
2019 Mendoza Lujuria Malbec
88 | $10
A quiet, juicy malbec, this wine’s scents of roses and strawberry-rhubarb jam have a graphite note that gives it a savory, firm edge.
Pampa Beverages, Miami, FL
This is a bargain at the price, a smooth, lush malbec with summery brightness to its red fruit. Notes of anise and green pepper bring it freshness, while the bitter-chocolate tannins give it the edge to stand up to slow-roasted pork shoulder.
Kobrand, Purchase, NY
2017 Mendoza Selección Malbec
92 | $20
With its lush, plummy fruit structured by new oak, this wine has freshness, direction, and a gentle saturation to its coffee-grind tannins. The combination is hard to resist.
E&J Gallo, Modesto, CA
Jean-Claude Berrouet, former cellarmaster of Château Pétrus in Bordeaux, joined the Tapiz team in 2013, and worked with Fabian Valenzuela on this wine. It’s a selection from the estate’s San Pablo vineyard, which sits at 4,430 feet in elevation. Fermented in stainless steel and aged for a year in an array of barrels (new and old, French and American oak), the wine feels cool and sleek. Herbal notes trace the path of the acidity, brightening the red fruit; earthy notes underline the espresso-roast richness of the tannins, firm and velvety. The only quibble is the alcohol, a peppery note on the back of the throat, but that could be turned to an advantage with a rich beef stew.
Vino del Sol, Corralitos, CA
Bodegas de los Clop
2016 Agrelo Luján de Cuyo Reserva Malbec
93 | $20
This is light on its feet and dark in flavor, with black-pepper spice and meaty cherry flavors. It feels Old World in its savor, with green-herb notes and gripping tannins.
Orvino Imports & Distributing, Coral Springs, FL
The partnership between Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Catena, launched in 1999, produces this “second” wine with a higher proportion of malbec and less time in oak barrels than the flagship wine (also recommended here). In 2017, Amancaya is the more elegant of the two. The blend includes 33 percent cabernet sauvignon and spends a year in barrels (20 percent new): It’s smoky, dark and earthy, with fine cocoa-powder tannins giving the violet-scented fruit a lithe line.
Taub Family Selections, Boca Raton, FL
The wines in this newsletter were chosen by our editors, from our tastings for the October 2020 edition. After our editors made their selections, we offered wineries the opportunity to promote their Best Buy award with a bottle image and brand links.
This story appears in the print issue of October 2020.
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