Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

93

2014 Zorzal, Eggo Malbec, Tupungato, Mendoza

£15.95, 13.5%, www.corkingwines.co.uk; www.slurp.co.uk

Fermented and aged in concrete eggs, as its name suggests, this is a wonderful blend of Malbec with a little Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Michelini brothers. Typically light and refreshing, with sappy, tangy, black cherry flavours, bright acidity and no wood at all. Modern Argentina at its refreshing, spicy best. 

BeefLambGame

 

 
 

89

2012 Bodegas Tonel Malbec, Mendoza

£5.99, 14, Lidl

Hard to beat for its sheer exuberance and gluggability, this is a brilliantly priced Argentinean Malbec with classic violet perfume, a touch of smoky oak and oodles of plum, blackberry and liquorice fruit. Made for a juicy steak, but this is smooth enough to work with spring lamb, too.

BeefLamb

 

 
 

88

2014 Santa Ana Malbec, Mendoza

£5.99, 12.5%, Majestic

Aromatic, attractive and showing all the exuberance and fruit sweetness of Mendoza Malbec at its most appealing, this is all about fruit rather than power, alcohol and oak. There’s enough tannin and structure here to partner a Christmas roast or a thick steak.

Beef

 

 
 

90

NV Chandon, Brut, Mendoza

£14.99, 13%, Majestic

Moët's sparkling wines in South America have mostly been a disappointment, but this blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is a huge improvement on what has gone before. It's a rich, toasty style with some sweetness from dosage, flavours of hazelnut and brioche and a baking spicy, well balanced finish. 

 

 
 

90

NV Chandon, Rosé

£15.99, 12.5%, Majestic

An unusual but (for Argentina) rather appropriate blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Malbec, this bronze-tinged rosé is savoury and flavoursome with notes of summer fruits, toast and leesy richness. A very drinkable bottle of bubbles at the price. 

 

 
 

93

2011 Paul Bertrand, Crocus, Malbec, Cahors, South West France

£34.99, 14.5%, The Vineking

What do you get when you cross Paul Hobbs, one of the leading New World wine consultants and a man who makes his own wines in Argetina, with a Frenchman producing wine in Cahors? The answer is something pretty special, a rich, ripe, but well balanced Malbec that sits midway between France and Argentina in style, with some of the perfume and plushness of the former and the structure of the latter. Inky, floral and refined with notes of plum and black cherry and sweet oak. 

PastaBeefLamb

 

 
 

87

2013 La Bodega de los Altos Andes Malbec, Mendoza

£4.99, 13.5%, Morrisons

Excellent value at less than a fiver, this is a savoury, peppery Mendoza Malbec with good acidity, no obvious oak and attractive plum and bramble fruit. Ligther fresher and - crucially - drier than many commercial Argentinean reds. 

Beef

 

 
 

89

2012 Fairtrade Argentine Malbec, Famatina Valley, La Rioja

£6.99, 13%, The Co-operative

Stop press! This is the best Fairtrade wine I've had yet from Argentina and one of the best I've had from anywhere, too. Sourced from La Rioja (nothing to do with the Spanish region of the same name), it's very, very aromatic, with wafts of liquourice and violets, a hint of spice and deeply coloured, textured bramble and blackberry fruit. The tannins are plush and sweet, with subtle use of oak. Bravo!

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90

2010 Viñalba Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/Merlot, Mendoza

£9.99 down to £7.49, 14.5%, Sainsbury's

Hervé Joyaux has brought a French sensibility to Argentina, producing well balanced reds at appealing prices that have more than a hint of sophistication. This a pretty serious Bordeaux blend for less than £10, with sweet French oak, appealing violet and bramble aromas, good underlying strucuture and plush, layered tannins. Great value. 

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90

2012 Miguel Torres Reserva de Pueblo, Cepa País, Itata Valley

£7.50, 12, The Wine Society

País (known as Mission in California and Criolla in Argentina) was the grape that the Spaniards brought first to South America. For all its antiquity, it tends to make pretty basic wines, largely because it's mostly over-cropped and grown in the wrong places. This Chilean example shows another side to the variety, made with carbonic maceration for maximum fruit impact and soft, sweetly textured tannins. Bright and juicy, with notes of raspberry, red cherrry and just a hint of pepper spice, it's the perfect summery red. Pass me the ice bucket. 

Lamb