Alamos Malbec Review from Lujan de Cuyo, Valle Uco and Vistaflores, Mendoza, Argentina
What a find this was. If you’re looking for a reliably bold party pleaser for around 7 bucks, the Alamos Malbec is incredibly accessible. I picked it up at Total Wine for $ 6.50. You can find it at a number of other retailers, including Target, Trader Joe’s, Costco, and probably your local grocery store. You can also order it online at Wine.com for delivery (currently $8.99, check for coupons on site).
This flavorful wine was born and raised around the Andres Mountains! I love grapes that grow at elevation, especially Malbec. It allows them to ripen a bit later in the growing season. Ultimately, this produces a more refined, slightly less alcoholic wine. But low alcohol really isn’t an issue when it comes to the Alamos Malbec, which sits comfortably at 13.5% ABV. So why the deviation?
This slightly elevated alcohol content (though relatively standard for Malbec’s in general) is likely a result of the substantial amount of sunlight and fresh snow-melt these Malbec vines receive as precipitation and sun-rays trickle down, through and around the Andes Mountains.
According to the Catena family — who produces the Alamos Malbec and a wide variety of other wine products — grapes for this particular line are sourced from the Uco Valley and the Lujan de Cuyo sub-appellations. These appellations lay between 3,000 – 5,000 feet in elevation. The Uco Valley begins at 3,700 feet.
Since these grapes are harvested from vines that sit at elevation, it’s a little bit easier to control the balance and concentration of various elements within the wine. That includes tannic content (think grape skins, seeds) which produces invigorating astringency, acidic balance, and a certain degree in freshness across the palate. These grapes are harvested by hand, and only the finest quality fruit makes it into the bottle. ‘Moderate’ oak aging is employed utilizing both French and American oak dependent upon the year.
New World Malbec is traditionally a rich variety and style of wine. The Alamos Malbec is no exception; adhering to true Malbec form by appearing inky in the glass with a firm yet balanced structure across the palate. Below, take a look at our tasting notes for the Alamos Malbec 2014 vintage.
Serving the Alamos Malbec
Given that we’re discussing the 2014 vintage, this is obviously a youthful wine at the time of writing this review. First, chill this Malbec to around 62 degrees in the fridge (20 minutes in the average fridge). You’re going to see the youth when you pour the Alamos — evident by magenta around the rim with deep purple and violet hues at the core. Let the wine breathe for 30 minutes in a decanter before serving in order to get the best bang for your buck. You can also use these self-aerating wine glasses (code WINEDERLUST for 10% off).
Alamos Malbec Tasting Notes
This is a medium-bodied red wine. In the glass, we get a beautiful dark violet and inky hue. Expect the polyphenolic content (micro-nutrients present in most red wines, but especially Malbec), to cling to the sides of your wine glass. You’ll see some legs as well!
The aroma is fresh, young and vibrant. Expect slightly under-ripe tones of dark plum, spice box, blackberry, cassis and heat.
On the opening palate, expect some grippy tannins to pick at your taste buds and tonsils (in a good way)! This astringent feel is backed by bold notes of dark plum, pomegranate, surprisingly prevalent raspberry and leather notes. The mid-palate actually feels more complex, with noticeable black cherry, damp earth, vanilla and peppercorn spice. Approaching the close, the wine tapers down a bit, revealing more fruity notes of blackberry that diminish into a softer and somewhat short finish with evidence of cassis and anise.
Alamos Malbec Food Pairings
This wine cries for meat. Given its youth, your best bet is to go with thick cuts of steak or brisket braised in rich, savory and spicy marinades. Think black cracked pepper. Remember, the grapes in this Malbec have grown at elevation which gives way to a firm acidic and tannic structure. That means fattier meats (pork is also a solid choice, and Argentine Lechon is FANTASTIC). Take a look at some of our favorite recipes and food pairings that go nicely with the Alamos Malbec below.
- Checkout this Pepper-crusted Flank Steak Recipe
- Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak (Wine!… I mean win..)
- Indian-styled Pork Vindaloo (possibly one of the best food pairing ideas ever)
- Sizzling Steak Fajita Recipe (a gold medal winner)
- And for those of you who want to avoid meat… checkout this Marinated Swordfish with Citrus and Walnut Sauce recipe
The Alamos Malbec is a great introductory Mendoza Malbec. Even experienced tasters can enjoy the quality of wine they’ll get out of a 7 dollar bottle. There are certainly more refined, balanced, and older Malbec’s out there — but not for under 10 bucks. If you enjoy bold and tannic reds, or you’re having a party with a guest list that you know does, this is a great way to have a good night without spending a lot.
For those of you that prefer to age your wine, this could sit in a cellar for 3 – 4 years and drink perfectly in 2019. Questions? Ask us in the comments.