Fairhills Mendoza Vineyards Malbec

Wine: Fairhills Mendoza Vineyards Malbec

Grapes: Malbec (95 percent), bonarda (5 percent)

Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Vintage: 2008

Price: $8.99

In the glass: Fairhills Malbec is a deeply opaque purplish-red color with a deep inky core going out into a light violet-red rim definition with medium-high viscosity.

On the nose: It brims with deep crushed black fruit character, including black plums, brambleberries, black currants and boysenberry jam. Under that is a layer of hints of embers, licorice root and earth-driven minerals, all adding to the alluring fragrance of this wine.

On the palate: The wine is very powerful in its onslaught and is rich with black fruit again, dominated by black wild cherries, loganberry crush, spicy black plum juice components, and no discernable hints of oak. The midpalate has in addition to the earthy black fruit, some smoke character, peppercorns, spice box, tobacco and some phenolic licorice notes. The finish is lingering and rich with black cherry. This wine overachieves on almost every level, considering the great value.

Odds and ends: Fairhills is one of the few wineries in South America to become Fair Trade Certified. The Fair Trade initiative is dedicated to 10 farms to improve the quality of life for 210 members and 300-plus children. The initiative is one of the first in Argentina, and has used sales to upgrade schools in the region, purchase new toys, establish a soup kitchen and buy an ambulance for the local health care center.

The idea is a noble one, and there’s a seriously delicious wine to be had here. Given its quality, it should age well and drink through 2013. This could become your go-to pizza wine that makes you feel good when buying and drinking it.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at gil@winevegas.com.

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