Where has all the Malbec Gone?

Surveying the changing Malbec landscape.

Earthy, stemmy and herbal on the nose with some sweet, small berry, wild berry fruit tones floating in the glass. A bit tough in the mouth with chewy tannins plenty of richness remaining. there’s great depth to the fruit here, all mineral and dried herb tinged wild red cherry toned flavors. The wine remains firm right through the mouth, but well balanced with the fruit gaining some darker, earthy notes on the backend before changing speed entirely and showing of nuanced red currant and subtly spiced oak note on the long, slightly rustic but delicious finish. Still youthful, this captures another aspect of Malbec, nuanced, complex, and more lively than many new world versions. 92pts
Quie a perfume here and unlike virtually anything else coming out under the Malbec banner these days. This is all sauvage, herbal, gamy, yet bright with notes of wild strawberries, lingonberries and candied cranberries. Smooth and polished on entry, this is seamless in the mouth, though there are some firm, almost stemmy tannins lurking at the heart of the pool of slightly roasted, candied red fruits that form the core of this wine. A touch chewy in the mouth, and with late arriving acids that help refresh the palate, this shows great potential for continued improvement in the bottle. The backend shows off a little black pepperiness before leading to a dried fruit finish of modest proportions. Broad shouldered and narrow waisted, this shows excellent balance and integration. 91pts
Crushed black cherries, expensive chocolate, grilled meats, a hint of black pepper and sweet vanilla and powdered ginger greet the nose. A bit tight, and definitely wound up, this shows lovely depth to the fruit with an elegance and almost laciness that is rare to find with malbec. The oak, nutty and showing allspice tones, is dominant today but not offensively so and the fruit ebbs and flows over the oak, giving glimpses of fine balsamic tinged crushed wild berry fruits topped with shaved chocolate.  A little blond tobacco and white pepper spice emerges on the finish to add some detail, along with a touch of heat as well. refined and complex, this is a fine wine but it lacks a touch of varietal character. 91pts
Quite subtle on the nose, though showing a sophisticated blend of nuanced, cigar box oak, crushed wild berry fruit, and hints of ivy and green herbs. Smooth, fairly zesty and even edgy in the mouth, there’s great tension and energy here with the bright crushed wild berry aromas of the nose gaining a bit of sweetness and complexity from the oak on the palate. The finish is a bit short, showing a fine steak of bitterness that helps to define the sweet, slightly jammy blackberry fruit that leads to the cranberry tinged finale. Captures the power of malbec while displaying a bit of finesse. Lovely wine. 89pts
Dark and exotic on the nose with layers of oak, tropical flowers, pomegranate and zesty wild plums. Rich, powerful and a bit mysterious on entry, this shows slightly aggressive wood tannin today, adding a drying vein to the midpalate, but the fruit is so rich it’s easy to miss. Dark, slightly roasted flavors of black cherry and blackberry are enlivened with subtly toasty oak spice in the mouth, and a hint of vanilla on the backend before this fades away on a moderately long, slightly hot finish. Big and smooth. 88pts
Subtle cigar box oak greets the nose followed by sweet vanilla, a touch of ginger and dark plummy fruit topped with shaved bittersweet chocolate. Smooth and polished in the mouth with plenty of dark plummy fruit wrapped around nicely integrated oak spice. This is well knit together and supple in the mouth with a nice blend of sour plum and blackberry fruit that lasts over the long finish. This is rather elegant for malbec with a nice blend of delicacy and depth in the mouth. 88pts

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: mbew
    169856 6

    It's Niner not Miner Malbec from Paso Robles. Mr S. Pellcheck strikes again.

    Apr 15, 2014 at 7:16 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 198,313

    Thanks for the heads up. It certainly is Niner. Duly corrected.

    Apr 15, 2014 at 7:29 PM

  • Enjoyed this piece. AU Shiraz and Malbec could be (should be) case studies for regional marketing/grower associations. Seem easy lesson not to forget — when prices edge up, and quality en masse goes down (i.e. "the value proposition begins to slip away...") consumers all to happy to look for the next wine from the next region.

    Apr 16, 2014 at 9:17 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 198,313

    Thank you for the kind words Frank.

    I agree, there are great lessons to be learned here, particularly short term vs. long term gains and the disconnect between personal gain and enduring regional success. The wine business is a fabulously interesting place at times.

    Apr 16, 2014 at 9:37 AM

  • Snooth User: wyh
    1491076 10

    Where are this sold in Singapore?

    Apr 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM

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