Wine Tasting Dinner: Argentine Malbec

By Kori ~ June 18th, 2008.

On Friday evening, we hosted our 60th wine tasting dinner. It was another fun evening of good wines, Mom’s excellent food, and the company of wonderful friends.

With the current state of the dollar and rising gas prices, most of us are looking to find some good deals. That’s the main reason why we selected Argentine Malbec for this month’s tasting. All six wines that we tasted come in under $20, and the winner rolls in under $10. Malbec is a varietal that is getting more and more attention and appeals to a wide variety of folks. It has a lot to offer. It is not as tannic as Cabernet Sauvignon but is spicier than Merlot and goes well with a number of different foods. It paired wonderfully with Mom’s dinner of flank steak with pico di gallo and corn salsa, Spanish rice, and sautéed vegetables.

Paul Gregutt, Wine Adviser for the Seattle Times, recently wrote a couple articles touting Argentine Malbec. All of the wines in this tasting were on his recommended list from April 9th.

For the most part, my rankings are generally close to the group consensus rankings. In this tasting, however, my personal favorite finished fourth. While the last two wines were disappointing, I don’t feel that you can go wrong with any of the top four.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2006 Altas Cumbres Malbec: Spicy and jammy. Smooth, not too bold.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin (Seattle), $9.99, Available elsewhere, $7.99

2006 Punto Final Malbec: Lots of red fruits, especially cherries and strawberries come through on both the nose and the palate. A hint of peppermint is present on the mid-palate.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin (Seattle), $11.99, Available elsewhere, $9 to $14

2007 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec: A bit spicy with flavors of beef jerky and cinnamon. A little rough now, should get better with age.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Pete’s Wine Shop – Eastside (Seattle area), $9.29, Available elsewhere, $8 to $13

2005 Melipal Malbec: My favorite of the evening. Very complex with lots of dried fruit and black olive flavors. Also has an attractive smoky component coming through on the nose.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin (Seattle), $19.99, Available elsewhere, $14 to $20

2005 Tomero Malbec
Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: NR (not recommended)
Where to buy: Esquin (Seattle), $14.99

2005 Andeluna Winemaker’s Selection Malbec
Quality: 1 star (out of 5)
QPR: NR (not recommended)
Where to buy: Esquin (Seattle), $12.99

Filed under: Argentine Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Malbec, Red Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Classic Wines | June 18th, 2008 at 10:42 am

    It’s funny, I recently had a bottle of Tomero and was also underwhelmed.

    Congratulations on your 60th anniversary, so to speak. It’s great to have a group together for that long and keep the fun going. My compliments to the cook as that appears to be a very nice spread.


  2. Lindy | June 18th, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    The cook was amazing and the wine selection and tasting set up was perfect. I mainly know Washington wines and this tasting boggled my mind. Malbec is a much bigger wine than I imagined, and for the money you cannot beat it.

  3. sofia pescarmona | June 19th, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Dear Kori,
    my name is Sofia Pescarmona and I am one of the owners of Lagarde winery which makes the Altas Cumbres Malbec. We are soo happy you enjoyed it. This makes our work worthwhile. Please let us know if you are ever in Mendoza.
    All the best,

  4. Aaron | June 24th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    The food was amazing, the wine selection tasty, and the company very enjoyable. New to winetasting, it was interesting to taste the diversity in the wines and learn the top picks were so affordable. I need to get to Esquine to pick up a few of the Altas Cumbres and Punto Final. Thanks Kori, Colby, LaGayle and John!

  5. mike beltran | July 18th, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    MELIPAL AND PRELUDO, are just outstanding Malbecs , I would suggest another wine which we loved—- Tapiz/Zolo ’08 Malbec Rose…. It was the standout Rose of our trip. Pay no more than $10 per bottle but it is so well worth it.. Can stay in the ball park with almost any rose…. Mike