What to drink this week
Argentine Malbec revisited
Argentine Malbec is a gift that keeps giving. The more of these wines I taste, the more I suspect that the grape of Cahors, grown high in the foothills of the Andes, is producing the New World’s greatest reds. I say that out of no disrespect to the finest Californian Cabernets and Australian Shirazes, not to mention New Zealand Pinot Noirs—i’m a huge fan of all three.
Why you should be drinking them
The story of Malbec in the province of Mendoza in Argentina is actually quite an old one. At the height of the phylloxera epidemic in the 1880s, many vignerons from south-west France emigrated to Argentina and began planting their native grapes in a drier, warmer climate. At the turn of the 20th century, more than 50% of the provincial budget of Mendoza came from wine, but the quality trajectory of Argentine Malbec only took off in the 1990s with the work of Nicolas Catena, the Lurtons and others.
What to drink
Francois Lurton, son of André, is continuing the tradition of Bordelais emigrés to Mendoza and making some of the most delicious, refined Malbecs I’ve encountered, from plantings high in the Uco valley. Piedra Negra Gran Malbec 2008 (£27.95; www.wineutopia.co.uk) has a lovely combination of chocolatey richness and bright, red-fruit tension. Chacayes 2013 (right, £53; www.tanners-wines. co.uk), from a single vineyard, is denser and more complex, with notes of mint and thyme; for all its chewiness, it retains a beautiful purity and freshness.
Harry Eyres pays homage to ‘the New World’s greatest reds’