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Malbec again proves good, tasty buy

I thought I had finished writing about Argentinean malbecs for a while, after my recent review of the Septima Malbec. But in the very next tasting, I find Conquista Malbec, another bargain.

The back story goes like this: Spanish conquistadors settled Argentina in the 16th century. The hot, arid climate was considered ideally suited to wine cultivation. But malbac, a classic French grape that was struggling in the cooler climate of Bordeaux, France, doesn’t appear in Argentina until the late 18th century.

Since then, I apparently come across these malbecs and get swayed by the quality they always produce at a low price.

In the glass, Conquista Malbec is a semi-opaque garnet-red color with a deep crimson core going out into a saturated, slightly tinged red rim definition with high viscosity.

On the nose, the wine reveals freshly crushed bright black fruit, loganberry, creme de cassis, rustic notes of cherry fruit, ground black plum skins, exotic spices, violets, minerals and phenolic components.

In the mouth, there is great concentration of cassis fruit with lots of creamy crushed black fruit, especially cherries and blackberries, then marionberries, huckleberry sauce, minerals and vanilla bean notes. The midpalate shows a lovely balanced play between the solid fruit, the fine acidity and the ripe tannins, with underlying hints of sweet cassis and oak. The finish is plentiful with good amounts of fleshy fruit concentrate and herbs as well as minerals that linger for 15-plus seconds.

Try Conquista Malbec with grilled mahi-mahi, which should be in season. It should drink well through 2010.

Wine: Conquista Malbec

Grape: Malbec

Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Vintage: 2005

Price: $8.99

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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