What has everybody got against Malbec anyway?

Malbec tonight, the 2008 from a winery new to me — Punto Final out of Argentina. Wow…this was  a “90 pointer” from Parker and I can see why! Deep purple, amazing blackcurrant liqueur on the nose and in the mouth, round, smooth and no hard edges or jamminess (not Aussie for sure). And for under $16… a bargain and a half!

Interestingly, Malbec seems to be under seige lately in the same way that Merlot was a number of years ago.  But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

Made in Argentina, at least, it seems to offer the best of the new world while avoiding the things that some people hate. Very ripe and fruity, smooth and easy to drink right away, available in a range of prices (from under $10 to as much as you want to pay)…those are the positives. But it also is rarely “green and unripe” (even the cheaper ones) nor is it jammy like some Aussie Shiraz’s.  So what’s not to like?

Maybe it is just too popular…that in itself is enough for some people to criticize it. Or there are too many of them coming out of Argentina i.e. the old volume drives down quality argument, although that usually only applies if they try to produce too much wine from the vines themselves (leading to the greeness I mentioned earlier). And I have seen few examples of that.

Whatever the reason, I am not going for it. I love Malbec and recommend it on a regular basis, both in the under $12 category and even in the up to $30  (check out my wine lists at www.sbwinesite.com for examples). The latter wines, by the way, also age amazingly well for 5 + years without losing their fruit.

So it is a mystery to me why many wine writers are increasingly against them.  And until I find out, I will keep drinking, buying and recommending them!



2 Responses to “What has everybody got against Malbec anyway?”

  1. 1150wine Says:

    oh yes, we’ve seen the posts… recon it’s anti conformity mostly, which is healthy… when something becomes popular, it’s no longer alternative or cult… carmenere has had much more haters recently than malbec… sad because it’s such a new discovery.

    • sbwineblog Says:

      Yes, you are probably right…interesting comment re: carmenere…I think the difference there might be that carmeneres are naturally “leaner” than malbecs, and can be greener as well…perhaps harder to make well on a regular basis (parcularly at a cheap price point)?

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