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Flat front label of wine

Portillo Malbec 2010

Malbec from Argentina
    14% ABV
    • W&S89
    All Vintages
    Currently Unavailable $7.99
    Try the 2017 Vintage 11 99
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    3.0 2 Ratings
    14% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Deep ruby red with shades of violet color. Rich with fruit, the nose is reminiscent of plums and blackberries. Tannins as soft as velvet set the stage for an enviably round finish.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Portillo

    Portillo

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    Portillo, Argentina
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    At Portillo, freshly harvested grapes are received at the first level of the facility. After selection, the fruit is transferred by gravity to the level below, where fermentation takes place. The resulting juice is then transferred, again by gravity, to a third level for aging. Framed by the snow-capped Andes, Portillo’s vineyards range in altitude from 3,445 to 5,577 feet. The benefits of this high location are many, including greater thermal fluctuations between day and night temperatures. This leads to longer hang-times for the grapes, resulting in a superior balance between sugars and acidity and thicker skins in the red varieties, which in turn yields greater intensity of color and aroma. This microclimate offers a supremely healthy environment in which to grow grapes.

    The Spanish conquistadors, who introduced vines to Mendoza as far back as the 1500s, referred to the region as the "Tierra del sol y del buen vino," (land of sun and good wine). With its profound affinity with the land, Portillo and the wines it produces are an authentic expression of their origin and terroir.

    The Portillo winery (Portillo means “portal” or “gateway”) is largely built of local materials, including stones quarried from a nearby valley. This enables the facility to blend in tastefully with the surrounding environment. Ancient masonry techniques practiced by the indigenous population in bygone times were revived for its construction in the late 1990s, providing new and welcome opportunities for skilled local craftsmen.

    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.

    NDF807001_2010 Item# 110011