October 30, 2008

Simonassi Malbec

Photo provided

Malbec was long a minor French blending grape. Some years ago some enterprising Argentinian vintners decided their high country vineyards would be ideal for the grape they thought could stand on its own. They were right, and its popularity has been steadily growing in this country as well as throughout South America.

2007 Simonassi Malbec "1922"

Bodega Simonassi is located in the province of Mendoza, Argentina, in the village of Rama Caída which has a particular microclimate conducive to Malbec grapes, poplars and fruit trees. The company has vineyards under the name of Viñedos SILVIA.

This bold, rich purplish red is visually inviting. I tried it at a wine bar along with a series of small plates of grilled chorizo and game sausages, New Zealand lamb chop “pops” marinated and grilled and served with Israeli couscous salad, a forest mushroom strudel and an ahi tuna sashimi served with crisp seaweed, pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

In the course of polishing off these treats, the Malbec kept opening and softening, releasing deep notes of black cherry, plum and warm spices, making it a perfect accompaniment to each item. Coincidentally, the next morning I checked out what food pairings the winemakers at Simonassi recommend for their Malbec: “steak, game, roasts, BBQ, lamb, tuna.” My 3-out-of-5 selections matched that quite well.

Suggested retail price: $19.

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