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Mapema Malbec 2009

Malbec from Argentina
  • WS91
  • RP90
14% ABV
  • WS89
  • W&S91
  • WS90
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Intense purple color with shades of violet. Heady aromas of kirsch, cocoa, mint and exotic woods make you want to keep inhaling deeply. Red & black cherry flavors coat the palate, and the oak tannins frame the intense fruit flavors, keeping them from taking over the place! This Malbec is as good on the second day as it is on the first—if you can avoid finishing it! It is a great example of "cool weather" Malbec—it has all the spicy/fruity character of the grape, but it also has a deeper, more serious side.

Best with meats such as pork (grilled or roasted loin), grilled hamburgers or steaks, and lamb prepared any way you like. Good with goat, too.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
A superflashy style, boasting lots of melted licorice, fruitcake, fig paste and black currant preserve flavors, which all stay pure and focused on the creamy, lengthy finish. A hedonist's delight. Drink now. 2,800 cases imported.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Fragrant black cherry and black raspberry, oak in background, touch of balsamic, lots of fruit.
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Mapema

Mapema

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Mapema, Argentina
We hear a lot about terroir and soils, but there is no substitute for a great team in winemaking, from the guys who prune to those who clean the barrels. Mariano di Paola has known this for decades, and as one of Mendoza's "Deans of Winemaking", he has built a long history of collaboration.

If you've met Mariano, you know that his greeting is like a big bear hug. If you work for him, you know that this hug extends to his every day dealings. Mariano makes sure his team enjoys lunch with him every day, including regular tastings of his high-end wines, and he makes sure they have wine for their homes at the end of every month. After all, they’re the ones who help make it happen! His Christmas parties are legendary and include everyone’s extended families (up to 400 people some years!). Take the expertise and experience of a great winemaker (Ma = Mariano) who sources the best possible grapes in Mendoza, wrap them around dedicated people (pe = people), and you’ve got incredible ma-pe-ma wines.

Argentina

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Stretching from the Andes to Patagonia, Argentina's unique terroir lends to high quality wines. Formerly associated with inexpensive bulk wine but dramatically shifting focus from quantity to quality, Argentina is the most important wine-producing country in South America. Certainly excellent values abound here still, but increases in vineyard investment, improved winery technology, and a commitment to innovation since the late 20th century have 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 can be used to irrigate vineyards. Grapes very rarely have any difficulty achieving full ripeness.

Mendoza, a large and famous region responsible for more than 70% of Argentina’s wine production, is further divided into several sub-regions, including Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. 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 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.

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.

STC434702_2009 Item# 113931