- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2004

Alamos, Malbec, Mendoza, 2002, $11

Malbec grapes came to Argentina from France in the mid-19th century. Although merlot, less susceptible to rot in wet weather, has largely supplanted it in Bordeaux, it grows in abundance in Argentina, where the climate in certain areas is dry and hot.

Particularly in the province of Mendoza, in vineyards sitting in the shadows of the Andes mountains, malbec can produce exciting, even thrilling, wines.

Dr. Nicholas Catena was one of the first Argentine vintners to fashion wines for the international market. His top-of-the-line estate offerings hold their own with the best made anywhere, and his value-priced Alamos line provides some stunning bargains.

This particular malbec tastes rich and ripe, with deep black fruit flavors and a whiff of sweet oak. Secondary notes reminiscent of tobacco and licorice add intrigue, as does the violet-tinged perfume.

Powerful yet seductively lush, Alamos malbec will pair wonderfully with grilled or braised meat dishes. Warm and inviting, it’s just the thing to open on a cold winter’s eve.

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