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Concha y Toro Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Malbec 2016
Try pairing with roasted red meats or game; mushroom and truffle risotto; stir-fried pork and vegetables with a touch of spicy sweet-and-sour sauce
Blend: 90% Malbec, 10% Syrah
Well-regarded for great values in bold red wines, the Colchagua Valley is situated in the southern part of Chile’s Rapel Valley, with many of the best vineyards lying in the foothills of the Coastal Range. Here, hundred-year-old vines are juxtaposed with cutting-edge technology in both the vineyard and the winery, and French investment has been a boon to the local viticultural industry. The textbook Mediterranean climate makes winegrowing almost effortless.
The warm, dry growing season in the Colchagua Valley favors robust reds made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Malbec, and Syrah. A small amount of white wine is produced from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originates in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends but was susceptible to viticultural problems. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it did flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. Malbec was brought to Argentina in 1868 by a French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, but did not gain its current reputation as the national grape of Argentina until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century thanks to its easy-going drinkability.
In the Glass
Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of freshly turned earth, black fruits from berries to plums, and licorice, appropriately backed by dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, it can be quite intense and often needs time to mellow before becoming drinkable. In the Old World, its rusticity shines, with aged examples showing dusty notes of leather and tobacco. The best examples in all regions often possess a beguiling bouquet of violets.
Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s Southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.
If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.