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Yacochuya Malbec (bin soiled labels) 2000
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Range: 92-95 Points
Home to some of Argentina’s best Torrontes, the Cafayate Valley’s rugged, high-altitude vineyards are part of the Calchaquies Valley in northwestern Argentina. Here, this Argentine white variety is able to achieve optimal ripeness while maintaining a higher than average acidity; its wines are typically full-bodied, dry to off-dry and alluringly aromatic.
In the Cafayate Valley, summers are warm and while most rainfall happens in these months, it isn’t enough to supply to the vineyards with enough water for the entire year. Snowmelt provides a fresh water source for irrigation in these arid and extreme conditionss.
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.
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.