Bec a win­ner this week­end

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - DRINK | SHOPPING -

My Ir­ish Colom­bian neigh­bours brought me a gor­geous Mal­bec the other day. Ob­vi­ously I live in an ou­tra­geously cos­mopoli­tan neigh­bour­hood. But that has its ad­van­tages. I mean who else do you know around here who was drink­ing on Colom­bian In­de­pen­dence Day last July?!

I’m keep­ing an eye out for an­other bot­tle of the Catena Mal­bec as it made a school night, well a few school nights, a lit­tle more pleas­ant than usual.

It ticked all the boxes for the grape – ripe, sweet, for­ward fruit, soft tan­nins and a lit­tle spice. This one showed a wee touch of clove, I thought. Twelve to 24 months in bar­rel have added plenty of sub­tle in­ter­est, with­out the sort of con­fected vanilla sweet­ness you get from wine made in a hurry.

It was a vino that, in my hum­ble opin­ion, nicely bridged the gap be­tween Old and New World, be­tween that easy stereo­type of the mod­ern fruit­bomb and the old school aus­tere wine of the past.

Of course Mal­bec found its way from Old to New, to Ar­gentina from its home­land of South West France. Known in France as Cot or Aux­er­rois, it fell out of favour thanks to be­ing too sus­cep­ti­ble to dis­ease and the lo­cal style be­ing pretty tan­nic. They like it tan­nic in the South West, with a grape even called Tan­nat right down in the Madi­ran re­gion.

But there’s been a bit of a re­vival on­go­ing, with mod­ern tech­niques bring­ing less tan­nic wines to the shelves. The suc­cess of the grape in Ar­gentina seems to have helped in its re­birth in its, well birth­place.

In a visit to The Wine Com­pany on the Ormeau Road the other night, I couldn’t help but no­tice the French ver­sions all seemed to be la­belled Mal­bec, ob­vi­ously piggy-back­ing on the suc­cess of their Ar­gen­tine cousins.

The days of the

French not even writ­ing a grape va­ri­ety, the cepage, on the bot­tle seem to be long gone.

Any­way, I still plumped for an

Ar­gen­tine ver­sion, a Dante Robino which, like the Catena, is 100% Mal­bec. A nice touch of Amer­i­can oak adds that spice and in­ter­est.

Any­way, I’m sur­prised to say it’s a shop I’ve not been in that of­ten. I picked up a Ju­rançon Sec while there, but more on that next week.

For now, get a hold of some nice Mal­bec and maybe a nice steak to go with those soft tan­nins.

It was a vino that nicely bridged the gap be­tween Old and New World

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