August 6, 2010

El Portillo 2008 Malbec

Bill Dowd photo
Malbec, the once-lowly European blending grape that has become a star in the high-elevation vineyards of Argentina, is fast becoming a staple in the U.S. market. Bodegas Salentein, which produced this wine, is located in the fertile Uco Valley.

El Portillo 2008 Malbec

I can't get enough Malbec, low-priced or premium. The bold, lush grape has emerged as a fruit most winemakers can handle nicely, and this estate-bottled example from Bodegas Salentien is no exception.

The initial aroma promises lush fruitiness, and the wine delivers it. Nuances of berries, bold hits of stone fruits -- ripe plums, black cherries -- and even a back-palate hint of leather make one long for a spicy stew, a slab of rare beef or something else to at once challenge and complement this hearty purple-red nectar.

Suggested retail price: $7.99.

Go to Dowd's Wine Notebook.

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