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. 

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90

2013 Newton Forrest Estate Cornerstone, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

N/A, 13.5%,

Inky, youthful and richly oaked, this is an impressive Gimblett Gravels blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec that needs a year or two to marry in bottle. Spicy, vanilla-scented notes are complemented by flavours of graphite, dark plums and cassis with bright, underlying freshness. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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94

2011 Los Amigos, Rogue Vine, Super Itata, Itata Valley

POA, 13.1%,

If its name is anything to go by, this is the top of the range red from Leonardo Erazo's Itata operation. It's a typicaly harmonious blend of Syrah, Malbec and Carignan, made in homeopathic quantities. Light, fresh and focused, it's another outstanding red with savoury tannins, tangy acidity and a beguiling combination of flavours: clove, pepper, plum, black cherry and graphite. Complex winemaking of a high order. 

 

 
 

88

2011 The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Domaine de La Noblaie Chinon, Loire

£8.95, 13.5%, The Co-operative

Unoaked Loire Cabernet Franc is one of my favourite styles wine: light, fresh and grassy, with subtle lead pencil aromas and a bright, cool climate finish. That's exactly what you get here, with acidity that works really well with cheese and red meats.

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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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