April 17! It’s only two days away! Certainly you have it circled on your calendar as I have on mine; it’s Malbec World Day, a day to celebrate the Malbec grape in all its forms – from its origins in Bordeaux to its home in Argentina. To many of us, Malbec has defined the Argentine wine industry as much as Argentina has defined what we consider to be Malbec today. And so, the first of three Malbec reviews.
Ave is made by world-renown Tuscan flying winemaker Alberto Antonini, who has worked with several Argentine wineries, notably Altos Las Hormigas, but also Nieto Senetiner and Chakana. I have to admit that it was, in fact, his credit as winemaker on the label that ultimately made me choose this bottle from a couple of other similarly priced Mablecs in the store.
Aromas of blackberry, pepper, chocolate, and fig abound. When the wine first hits the palate there is a pop of black licorice followed by figs and plums on the mid-palate, rounded out by mocha and earth. It is intensely flavorful with all of those dark notes lingering a long time in the finish. Medium-minus tannins and acidity, however, make the alcohol (14.7% in the 2008 vintage) feel more intense than I would have liked. The mouthfeel is softer than what I would expect for a wine of this flavor intensity. Lengthy oak aging gives the Gran Riserva a warm, sweet vanilla-oak flavor. Very good.
At Martignetti’s for $22.99.