Almarada is one of our newest discoveries and one of the much needed bright spots of 2020. “At last, a high quality Malbec with panache at a price that won’t break the bank,” we quipped upon tasting the 2017 Almarada Malbec, the winery’s first North American release. Guess what? The 2018 Almarada Uco Valley Malbec (this month’s feature) is even better than the 2017. The scion of the finest vintage in Argentina in years, the 2018 Almarada Uco Valley Malbec (91 Points – Tim Atkins, MW) is not only juicy, ripe, and beautifully focused, it’s also downright sensuous. Savory scents of raspberries, strawberries, and wild herbs permeate the nose. The wine’s dark, nearly impenetrable black robe belies the wine’s polished velvety texture, which only serves to accentuate the wine’s delightful red berry flavors and subtly captivating floral and herb tones. Not surprisingly, our tasting panel gave a unanimous thumbs-up vote, before quickly and shamelessly begging for more. Almarada’s 2018 Uco Valley Malbec is a wine for those who love Malbec as well as those who want more from this varietal. For optimal enjoyment we suggest affording the 2018 Almarada Malbec at least a few minutes of aeration before serving at cool room temperature (58°-62° F). Anticipated maturity: 2021-2025. Enjoy!
Almarada’s sensuous 2018 Uco Valley Malbec is equally pleasing on its own as it is at table, but why not double the pleasure with hearty, down home cooking? Whether the evening meal calls for a fat bacon and cheddar cheese burger or juicy ribeye steak, Almarada’s 2018 Malbec is sure to shine. Grilled cheese, fennel, and hot Italian sausages provide additional palate pleasing companionship to this Malbec. Serve the sausages over creamy polenta or grits for an added kick. Shepard’s Pie, lamb stew, and grilled lamb kebobs with roasted peppers, onions, and root vegetables also do justice to this wine. Hearty tomato and cheese-rich southern Italian favorites such baked ziti, stuffed shells, and Eggplant Parmigiana also provide delicious accompaniments to Antonio Mas’s 2018 Almarada Malbec. Buen Provecho!
With its rich velvety core of fruit and youthful vigor, the 2018 Almarada Uco Valley Malbec provides a natural companion to full flavored cheeses. Consequently, we suggest reserving a glass of Antonio Mas’s delightful Malbec to consume with first rate Provolone, Pecorino, and other hard cheeses. Leicester, Manchego and Mahón cheeses also get our nod with Almarada’s delightful 2018 Malbec. For additional tasty cheese accompaniments, contact us at www.cheesemonthclub.com to fully enjoy the world of wine and gourmet cheeses.
Almarada is the brainchild of Antonio Mas, long considered one of the most prestigious Argentinean winemakers and an expert with Malbec. A native of Mendoza, Antonio possesses more than 50 years of winemaking experience with Malbec – Argentina’s emblematic and most important grape variety. Antonio has devoted his life to viticulture and clonal selection in addition to winemaking. Inspired by the French concept of chateau growth and bottling, in which a sense of terroir is instilled through careful clonal selection and vinification in the same place as the grapes are grown, he established the first Argentinean boutique winery in 1992: Finca la Anita.
In establishing Finca La Anita, Antonio created his own equipment, imported barrels to meet his specifications and planted new vineyards at high elevations. His latest boutique venture is Almarada. Almarada is the expression of Antonio’s life-long study of nature, clonal selection, soil, and climate – aka terroir. The word Almarada is derived from a combination of Alma (soul) and Arada (plowed), which expresses the deep union between soul and agriculture. We invite you to taste and enjoy Antonio’s Almarada.
Malbec is one of the original red wine grapes of Bordeaux, France (where it is also known as Cot and Pressac). While Malbec still plays an important supporting role today in Bordeaux, adding color and body to the region’s primarily Merlot and Cabernet blends, and it remains the chief grape used in what historically has been called the “black wine” of Cahors in southwest France, Argentina has come to fore as the contemporary champion and spiritual home of Malbec. In Argentina, Malbec reigns as the nation’s most important grape variety, both in terms of quality and quantity. The best Argentinean Malbecs and Malbec blends flow from the foothills of the towering Andes Mountains in Argentina’s province of Mendoza. These wines offer considerable flavor and body at a relatively young age, yet they remain age-worthy and capable of true distinction.
Without the towering Andes, there would be no cultivation of the vine in Mendoza and no real agriculture as we know it, nor would viticulture thrive in the river valleys of central Chile which lie just across the Andean spine, or Cordillera, from Mendoza – a mere one hundred miles as the condor flies. Simply, it is the Andes that give life to the desert like Mendoza and the arid rift valleys of Chile. Specifically, it is Andean snows that accumulate upon the higher elevations of the Andes that give life and sustenance to these parched parcels of South America that yield the continent’s finest wines.
In order to make the desert bloom, the inhabitants of the Andes have come to rely on their mighty mountains for water. By sluicing off the Andean snow melt and directing its waters into canals, much of Argentina and Chile are now productive farmland and especially suited to the cultivation of the vine. Since the Italian migration to Argentina in the 19th century and subsequent settlement in the Illinois-sized province of Mendoza, the Mighty Mendoza has become the largest wine producing area in South America, leading Argentina to fifth place among the world’s leading wine producing nations just behind the United States. Without the Andes, there would be no wine or much else to speak of from Mendoza. Viva Los Andes!
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