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Travel south into Argentina, and a natural phenomenon occurs with the growth and prosperity of the Malbec grape. The climate and unique geography enable extreme conditions to produce some of the most plush fruit in the Southern hemisphere. The Andes Mountains funnel the air’s moisture and winter snow down through high desert plains and act as natural flood irrigation to Mendoza’s vineyards, lasting through the dry, arid months. When combined with hot summer-like heat, and cool nights, Malbec can prosper. This is one of the only regions in the world suitable for its growth. Many regions of Bordeaux tried it for years, and used Malbec as a blending grape, only to be plagued by an unsuitable maritime climate for the grape’s survival. It has always been said from the most volatile conditions come the most opulent growths. And in this case, Mendoza thrives with Malbec, it’s highest volume production and most popular wine varietal worldwide.

Normally known for their single-vineyard masterpieces, this wine is Achaval Ferrer’s 3-vineyard creation that truly embodies the variety of the Mendoza region at a surprising $20 price tag. Their single-vineyard estate wines have ranked among the best in the world, achieving a top 10 accolade in last year’s Wine Spectator Top 100 list – the first for both the grape and the country of Argentina. Now you can capture the flavor of Mendoza for a much more accessible price. As young as it is, and from as challenging a vintage as 2011 was, this wine will surpass all of your expectations.

The color is a deep purple body, with blueberry and violet edges. Scents of blackberries, mulberry spice, and plum are very aromatic. The flavor profile begins with blackberries and dark fruit on the palette, and is rounded off by herbes de provence, and hints of black licorice with a velvety finish. This is ready right out of the bottle, and it’s ready now. Open one, and see just how loaded it is with juicy fruit. It’s a big, yet supple flavor, with solid acidity, structured tannins, and a mouth-watering finish – the very essence of Malbec, Argentina’s crown jewel. –JT

ACHÁVAL-FERRER Malbec Mendoza 2011

SCORE: 91

Related Scores: WS-92
Market Price: $20

Recommended pairings:
Food – Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
(example: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/smoky-strip-steaks-with-chimichurri-sauce )

Beef Empañadas
(example: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Beef-Empanadas-239955 )

Song – Cesaria Evora “Nho Antone Escaderode”

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