Where has all the Malbec Gone?

Surveying the changing Malbec landscape.

Dark with hints of carob, earth and leather on the nose this seems a bit tight with reticent aromas of wood spice slowly drifting from the glass. Soft, almost voluptuous on entry with a hint of sweetness wrapped around firm acids and a lacy tannic structure, this unfurls in the mouth with power, yet a sense of restraint as well as there is some subtlety here. The oak pops a bit on the backend before sliding back under the powerful yet subtle dark cherry, candied cherry, berry fruit that dominates the long finish. This might improve in the bottle over the near term, 1-2 years, but is already a pretty classic expression of Malbec today. 88pts 
Dark, spicy and slightly roasted on the nose with plenty of vanilla and spicy oak layered in under the spicy, slightly balsamic fruit. Soft, large scaled, and powerful in the mouth, while remaining moderately transparent and agile on the palate. The fruit here takes on a decidedly black cherry tone, slightly candied and sweet though with enough balsamic spice to remain fresh and enough depth to help keep the oak well covered. A bit of jamminess emerges on the backend, then the fruit slips away leaving lots of mocha tinged oak, drying and slightly bitter, to linger on the modest finish. 87pts
Fruity and spicy on the nose with plenty of  nuanced nutty, nutmeg tinged oak layered in with  blackberry, plum, and black cherry fruit. fruit forward, exuberant and bright in the mouth, this is supported by nicely judged, firm, little tannins and integrated acids that help to show off the spicy character of the fruit here. Rich yet remaining admirably transparent in the mouth, this finish with lovely freshness and clarity, and lingering sour plummy fruit. Well knit together and fun. 86pts
Subtle on the nose with nuanced oak, spicy fruit and subtly floral aromas. A bit sticky up front with perhaps a touch of RS adding some richness but enough acidity to help bring freshness and brightness to the palate. The oak is well measure with some spice accents helping to highlight the slightly spicy, plum skin and rosemary nature of the fruit here. Finishing with a slight balsamic cast, this shows some nice persistence to the fruit in a style that is slightly lighter than many Malbecs and shows more red fruit character finishing with hints of strawberries. 85pts
A bit funky on the nose but very plummy. Aromas of fresh Italian plums, old wood, dry earth and hints  of tarragon and dried sage greet the nose. Smooth and broad on entry, this is almost a bit soft, though the tannins remains fairly abundant and a bit fuzzy in the mouth, adding volume and tactile complexity. There’s a fine, clear, deep core of fruit here, all plums and wild cherry with almost a hint of wild strawberry on the backend where this gains a subtle forest floor tinged  layer of funk. falling short on the finish, this stumble with some drying tannins and a lack of persistence to the fruit, though a peppery note does linger. A little simple perhaps, but distinct. 85pts
Vanilla, smoke and tobacco come together on the nose adding detail to the core of  spicy, slightly savory dark berry fruit. Smooth and easy going, this is bright and fresh feeling in the mouth with attractive clarity to the simple, yet fresh and pure core of fruit. Almost delicate on the palate and through the modest finish, this is a refreshingly simple and clean example of malbec, through the nose does suggest that there might be some complexity still hiding here. eminently drinkable and just a touch sticky in the mouth as it airs out, but  the finish remains attractively dry and refreshing with hints of chocolate and dried cherries. 85pts

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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 201,427

    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 201,427

    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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