August 20, 2008

Zette Malbec

Bill Dowd photo

Malbec wines have largely become the property of Argentina in recent years. That's because its vintners made the once lowly French blending grape stand on its own as an excellent example of a robust, fruity red. Here, however, is a French malbec from an unconventional winemaker trying to reclaim some of the excellent grape's cachet for its native land.

Zette Malbec 2003

This is the latest red wine from former Cartier executive Alain Perrin's Domain Lagrezette which is staking its future on the centuries-old "black grape of Cahors" that still remains a minor blending grape in Bordeaux.

While it is noticeably thinner than the better Argentinian malbecs, Zette's version has the same ruby color and fruit forward nose chock full of blueberries and stone fruits.

Touches of cinnamon and thyme are evident in the middle notes as well, products of 12-month aging in small French oak casks. It held up well to a bowl of angel hair pasta doused with a fresh sauce of campari tomatoes, capers, yellow bell peppers, shallots, fresh basil and spices.

Suggested retail price: $13 for the 750ml bottle.

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