Uco Valley, Argentina
Although it has a pedigree as one of the main blending grapes in French Bordeaux, malbec has soared in popularity as Argentina's flagship varietal. Grapes for this wine were sourced from vines at altitudes between 2,800 feet to 3,600 feet above sea level in the Mendoza region's Uco Valley. The elevated vineyards enjoy high daytime temperatures and cool evenings, which foster development of balanced sugars and acidity in the grapes. A blend of 95 percent malbec and 5 percent syrah grapes fermented in tanks under controlled temperatures for 10 days. Maceration occurred over 18 to 21 days with complete malolactic fermentation. The wine aged in French and American oak. In the glass, it offers aromas of dark berries, hints of bramble bushes and oak notes. On the palate, the velvety wine has flavors of plum, cassis, spice, black cherry, a touch of pepper and firm tannins. Decant 30 minutes before serving. Drink it with steaks, burgers, venison, sausages, prosciutto, pasta with tomato sauce and firm cheeses. Buy it at: Trader Joe's.