Wine: Alamos Malbec
Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Availability: Total Wine &More, other retailers
In the glass: Alamos wine is an inky opaque blackish-red color with fine ruby streaks going out to a deep reddish-pink rim definition with high viscosity.
On the nose: A lot of pungent notes jump out of the glass, but predominantly black fruit character with crushed black cherries, bramble, warm blueberry pie, spices, licorice, pepper and hints of coffee grounds, mocha and dark chocolate over soft minerals.
On the palate: This wine makes an entrance with a massive concentration of black peppered fruit, cherry crush, sloe fruit and loads of licorice-laden berries.
The acidity is striking, as it creates a great melange with the fruit and the tannins through the midpalate, thereby giving the wine a powerful backbone and a good sense of balance. It carries through to the finish that lingers for a good 20-plus seconds with hints of toast, coffee and anise.
Odds and ends: Alamos Red Blend notes that it is among “The Wines of Catena.” This is significant, because the Catena family is considered the “first family” of vintners in Argentina. The vineyards of Mendoza, where this wine comes from, are among the highest elevations in the world planted with vines, as they stretch up the foothills of the Andes Mountains and enjoy the temperate climate that comes along with this location.
There are many levels of vineyards in the vast Mendoza region, which happens to be the world’s largest wine region. This wine comes from some of the highest planted vineyards, above 3,000 feet, giving the wine a dry, exotic touch, whereas malbec from the valley floor can be more fruity and less complex.
This is an interesting wine that, based on its concentration and flavor profile, is an excellent alternative to more traditional cabernets and merlots normally found in the area. It might need about an hour out of the bottle before consumption, but should then provide immense drinking pleasure and will be good for the next five years or so.
This wine should work great with traditional rustic meat dishes, such as carne asada and pollo con mole.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.