I wanted to switch to a more obscure varietal for this month’s featured wine. Malbec, of course, has been used for centuries in old world wines primarily as a blending grape for Bordeaux and other wines of that style. Then along came Argentina, and this nation realized that it had an ideal climate to create Malbec wines that could stand alone. The Mendoza region consistently produces 100%  Malbec that is lush with black and purple fruits, strong elements of mocha and usually a chalky, minerally graphite element from the gravel soils. I’ve ran into dozens of great value wines from this region, but so far this year, this particular example has been the clear winner.

DOMINIO DEL PLATA BEN MARCO MALBEC MENDOZA 2006, $20, 90 Points, 6000 cases made

Deep notes of coffee bean, blueberry and mineral on the nose. Plush, spicy body of ripe blackberry, blueberry, baked plum and black licorice fruit above notes of mocha, mineral, pepper spice and leather notes. Lots going on here through well-balanced, long length, but the fruit shines.

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