Strange story about my learning around Malbec. During my road tip to education fairs across the country last fall, while in Vancouver, dining in the hotel lobby lounge after the gig, who should walk in but my very own boss, in Van, in the same hotel, for altogether another function. Bizarre coincidence. But with his time being at an ultra premium nearly always, it afforded us a chance to just sit and chat for a couple of hours… come to think of it, that was the longest face time I ever spent in his company!
But I digress. A– told me a story about Malbec that I found very intriguing… about how one of the supporters of the Faculty, a very well known business woman with a reputation for being fearless in her ideas – and opinions – was actually prescribed a nightly glass of high altitude Malbec by her doctor. As previously mentioned, many (especially wine growers!) believe that grapes grown at higher altitudes reap special benefits… that the light has a greater intensity, that the thinner air cannot hold humidity and doesn’t retain overnight warmth, for greater diurnal shift. All leading to the ultimate development of the phenolics in the grapes, and huge tannins in the skins – making for very intense wine. Good discussion of this can be found here. Thus the heart benefits wrought by red wine reach their apex in such products, and doctors are getting behind the idea by telling their patients to get the max benefit possible, if they do indeed choose to drink. If it’s good enough to keep the divine Ms. R– so feisty, it’s good enough for me. Next time I see my doctor, I’ll ask him for a formal prescription and maybe the wine store will give me medicinal pricing!
I managed to find a fantastic example of such a wine: the 2005 Enrique Foster Finca Castro Barros Reserva Malbec. Made from 100% Malbec grapes from old Mendoza vines, with vineyards at 3,000 ft above sea level. The 2003 vintage of this wine received accolation as the “Year’s Best Argentine Malbec” by Wine & Spirits Magazine. This 2005 was awarded 92 Parker Points.
I understand why. Gorgeous colour in the glass, an inky rich garnet fading to a clear rim, nearly opaque. Black cherry, dust and violets on the nose, with hints of tar, plums and toast. On the palate, the earthy/dusty notes dominated, but the plum fruit and vanilla oak provided good balance. Full bodied, great acidity with rich tannin and a longish finish. Would probably do well after another 3 to 4 years lying down. 14.5% alcohol. $32 at Everything Wine. YUM.