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Fincas Don Martino Old Vine Malbec 2009

Malbec from Argentina
  • WE91
13.9% ABV
  • W&S91
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3.9 12 Ratings
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3.9 12 Ratings
13.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This is without question one of our favorite Malbec bottlings in terms of authenticity, character, and depth. If you ever wanted to know what "Agrelo" Malbec tastes like at its best, let this be your lesson. Rarely do we come across a wine that communicates "place" as this does. Brilliant color, wild aromatics, rich mid-palate, incredible texture, this has it all. Its thick, almost neon purple sediment is unlike anything we have ever seen! Impenetrably dark. Aromas of plum, chocolate, baking spices, and hints of vanilla. On the palate it is rich and viscous, with more dark fruit flavors and round tannins.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
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Fincas Don Martino

Fincas Don Martino

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Fincas Don Martino, Argentina
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Fincas Don Martino is a creation of famed agronomist Mauricio Parodi and Buenos Aires Businessman Hugo Martino. The project began in 2002 when Parodi fell in love with the quality of fruit from "Viña Violeta", a small 18.5 acre vineyard in Agrelo, a sub-district within the Luján de Cuyo appellation of Mendoza. The vines, planted in 1926, are ungrafted Malbec clones originally brought to Argentina from France. The vineyard's high elevation (3,850 feet) allows the grapes to develop tremendous complexity via an extended growing season and large daily temperature fluctuations.

In addition to the two Malbec wines they produce out of the "Vina Violeta" site, the winery has recently begun producing small quantities of old vine Semillon from a heritage vineyard in Perdriel. As production is limited by the small size of these two vineyards, each of these wines have become "cult" items in their native Mendoza. All are produced organically and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

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.

AIC780100_2009 Item# 111616