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Graffito Malbec 2011

Malbec from Argentina
  • WS90
14.5% ABV
  • RP90
  • JS90
  • JS92
  • WS92
  • RP90
  • RP90
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Deep and bright color that evokes its name. Ethereal rose petal incense and spicy perfume with a bass note of smoky earth and espresso. Juicy and medium-bodied, it expands and intensifies in the mouth, gaining density and complexity as it is savored. The palate balances red currant fruit and hints of black pepper with loads of mouth-coating ripe tannins that are common in old vine Malbecs. Finishes with smooth, lush tannins, ripe acidity and good length. The ultimate in steak wine. You'd be wise to let this old vine beauty open a bit before delving into it, so get the decanter out for this one.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
Notes of baking spices, licorice and smoke lead in this rich red, sporting a solid core of dark cherry and macerated plum.
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Graffito

Graffito

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Graffito, Argentina
Over the last 15 years, winemaker Jimena Lopez (former winemaker of Bodega Norton) has developed a very personal set of fine winemaking principles: use great fruit from old vines in a special location, handle all the winemaking steps herself, and put her stamp of approval (a thumbprint) on the label. Jimena's lifelong plan has been to craft a wine using these principles, so when she came across the 7-acre, Cantella vineyard in Lujan de Cuyo farmed entirely by Don Pepe and his family, she finally put her plan into action. This low yield Malbec vineyard planted by his father in 1908 produces small, intense berries that produce a wine not only with deep dark color, like graffito, but also amazing concentration, complexity and structure.

Jimena believes that good winemaking is simple winemaking. It starts in the vineyard with quality grapes. Beyond this, she believes in 3 key principles to make great wine: know-how, obsession for details, and above all passion.

Argentina

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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.

Perfect Parings

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.

Sommelier Secret

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.

YNG747825_2011 Item# 131560