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Fabre Montmayou Reserva Malbec 2010
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Hervé Joyaux Fabre, owner and director of Fabre Montmayou, was born in Bordeaux, France to a family of wine negociants. When he arrived in Argentina in the early 90’s looking for opportunities to invest in vineyards and start a winery, he was impressed by the potential for Malbec in Mendoza, and shocked by the number of neglected top notch old vine vineyards available for purchase. At this time pulling out old vines and replanting with new higher yielding more predictable clones was all the rage. Hervé Fabre knew he needed to act immediately. Within months he purchased the first of what would be many old vine, high elevation vineyard sites under his control - An impeccable 37 acre spread in Vistalba planted with original rootstock Malbec vines in 1908. Shortly after, Herve built a Chateau style winery on the property and continued purchasing old vine parcels throughout the country. A Patagonian winery was constructed in the Rio Negro region ten years later. At present the family owns 217 acres of vineyard land in Mendoza (Vistalba, Compuertas, Tupungato) and 122 acres in Patagonia (Allen, General Roca). All wines are estate grown, farmed using traditional methods without the use of herbicides, and fermented with native yeasts.
With vineyards tretching along the eastern side of the Andes Mountains from Patagonia in the south to Salta in the north, Argentina is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic wine producing countries—and most important in South America.
Since the late 20th century vineyard investments, improved winery technology and a commitment to innovation have all contributed to the country’s burgeoning image as a producer of great wines at all price points. The climate here is diverse but generally continental and agreeable, with hot, dry summers and cold snowy winters—a positive, as snow melt from the Andes Mountains is used heavily to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.
Argentina’s famous Mendoza region, responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, with Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley most noteworthy. Red wines dominate here, especially Malbec, the country’s star variety, while Chardonnay is the most successful white.
The province of San Juan is best known for blends of Bonarda and Syrah. Torrontés is a specialty of the La Rioja and Salta regions, the latter of which is also responsible for excellent Malbecs grown at very high elevation.
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. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it continued to flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. A French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, brought Malbec to Argentina in 1868. But it did not gain its current reputation as the country's national grape until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century.
In the Glass
Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of blackberry, plum and licorice, appropriately backed by aromas of freshly turned earth and dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, Malbec will be intensely ripe, and full of fruit and spice. From its homeland in Cahors, its rusticity shines; dusty notes and a beguiling bouquet of violets balance rich, black fruit.
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.