Welcome to our new Berrys’ Argentinian Malbec
Author: Steffan Griffiths
We are delighted to welcome a new addition to our Berrys’ Own Selection family: our delicious Argentinian Malbec. Sourced by our South American buyer Simon Field MW, from the celebrated producer Pulenta Estate in Mendoza, the wine fills a hole that has been present in our range for some time, and to celebrate the launch we thought we’d gather together some staff opinions to share with you.
Firstly, our South American buyer and the man responsible for sourcing the wine, Simon Field MW, elaborates on the origin of the wine, the beauty of its native Argentina, and just what makes our Malbec quite so exquisite:
“For a long time there has been a gap in our New World Own Selection Range, and for a long time we have been tasting and exploring in an effort to fill that gap. New Zealand Pinot Noir, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, Australian Chardonnay… all totemic and all emblematic of what is best (and in many instances worst) of the countries in question. But no Argentinian Malbec!
Argentina’s signature grape, its calling card, call it what you will, the grape variety to match the most ambitiously chiselled slab of barbequed beef… Well, aspiration can only metamorphose into achievement if the product in question is fully worthy of both the romance of expectation and the commercial reality of market forces. The wine, in short, has to be the best in its class.
All this was probably not going through my head when riding across the foothills of the Andes with Eduardo Pulenta last March. The sun was high; the snow was crisp, the uplands dazzling. All seemed well with the world, and in such circumstances it seemed far more appropriate to discuss an Own Label Malbec, than, say, the re-emerging spirit of nationalism surrounding the foggy topic of Los Malvinas.
Eduardo was excited by the idea, but was rather embarrassed to advise that demand for his best plots of Malbec was such that it may be tricky. However, as it was to be for BBR, he would see what he could do… What he could do, the very next day, was to present a fantastic line-up of potential blends, each teasingly different, each capturing the unique spirit of its privileged Alto Agrelo Mendoza terroir. When one is spoilt for choice, one does not resist the temptation to make the choice and I am delighted, ten months later, to see the results in bottle.
We went for a wine that was ripe, fruity, unabashed and hedonistic… all of that is sui generis and its absence would have been an omission, but also, and perhaps more importantly, a wine with subtle tannins, very crisp acidity and an extraordinary elegance on the finish. The wine wears its 14.5 % alcohol with dignity and aplomb. The BOS Argentinian Malbec is, in short, a most worthy addition to our range.”
Later, we cracked open a bottle of the Malbec ourselves to see what we thought of the result of Simon’s extensive efforts; read our thoughts below… Comments from Laura Atkinson, Oli Barton, Lucy Christopher and Steffan Griffiths.
Laura – My initial thoughts are that this is a very serious-looking wine.
Steffan – It certainly looks the part, doesn’t it? A very deep dark red.
Laura – Dark as a dungeon. This really is true Malbec, just from the colour of it you can suspect that this is going to bear all the grape’s hallmarks, black fruit and underlying power.
Oli – (nosing) You’re right about that, there’s some really impressive intensity to this, that you get straight away off the nose.
Lucy – A little aeration would go a long way towards bringing out the Malbec’s full potential I reckon. I’m not sure you’d even need a decanter, just pouring it would help.
Steffan – Definitely, simply pouring it into a jug and back into the bottle would give it the air it needs!
Oli – Despite that, this is still terrific nonetheless. On the palate it’s got really ripe, plumy fruit, and the tannins are beautifully silky.
Laura – Very full bodied. And it’s incredibly aromatic. You really wouldn’t expect a wine this serious for the price point, and even as I speak it’s still developing in the mouth.
Oli – This really reminds me of a Southern French red we tried the other day, it’s got the same rich fruit characteristics and the same complexity, and while the end product is different it almost harks back to the days of Malbec being part of the Bordeaux blend.
Laura – I see what you mean, but there’s no doubting this is Malbec from the New World. The slightly leafy, herbaceous note and the real crisp acidity on the palate means that this is definitely something to go with food. Something heavy like a good steak, and, although it’s not exactly seasonal, chargrilled bbq meat!
Lucy – Oh it’s a foodie wine, while it’s lovely I think the acidity needs something to cut through, like, as you said, some filling food.
Oli – Personally I love the herbaceousness of it, yes some people might accuse it of being slightly on the green side but there are distinct notes of herbs such as thyme on the finish, and it’s terrific. This really is serious Malbec that’s not going to break the bank.
We tried it again later on that day, having left it for a while after some contact with air…
Oli – Instantly you can tell that that has more fruit. Way more. It’s still intense, but it’s does it far more subtly, a wave of fruit aromas washes over the whole affair and makes it a lot more elegant.
Steffan – Very true, it’s lost none of its power but it’s definitely more supple, smoother.
Oli – It’s brilliant, it’s lost nothing of the things that made it great: the delicious herby flavours are still there on the finish, but now the summer fruits have opened up and you get the whole potential that was hinted at earlier. Terrific.
Laura – Now we just need a rare steak to wrap things up!