Mary Dowey Chooses A Rich, Warming Red to Suit January Budgets

Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a juicy and elegant Argentinian Malbec as her bottle of the week …

La Celia Reserva Malbec, Uco Valley & Mendoza 2016

If January doesn’t quite rhyme with penury it comes close. One solution I admire (but don’t embrace) is to give up the demon drink altogether after the excesses of December. The other – less painful by far – is to allow yourself an occasional glass of something that combats this month’s typically grim weather without threatening bankruptcy. This likeable Malbec gets the vote.

The bold wines made from Argentina’s star red grape are luscious and spicy: just right for the coldest months of the year. Some Malbecs can be almost too swashbuckling for comfort – too ripe, too oaky, too darned alcoholic, reflecting the heat of Mendoza, the country’s main production region. That’s not the case with this reserva, I promise you. La Celia, the company which makes it, has long roots in the cool Uco valley where altitudes of between 900 and 1500 metres help to give wines noticeable freshness and poise.

You’ll find the heady blackberry and cherry notes that are a key part of Malbec’s charm, along with hints of spice and chocolate. Then you’ll notice that, while La Celia Reserva tastes admirably concentrated, it’s juicy and elegant rather than overblown. The oak influence is subtle, thank goodness, and the alcohol level a civilised 13.5% – unusual given that most worthwhile Malbecs clock in at 14-14.5%.

Enjoy a glass of this by itself or with any tasty, wintry food – roast meats, roast vegetables, hearty casseroles or cauliflower cheese with a bubbling, toasty top. You shouldn’t have to make a special expedition to find La Celia Malbec Reserva. It’s available in popular shops dotted all over the country, as you’ll see from the details below.

Alcohol: 13.5%

From Eurospar, Spar, Londis and Mace outlets nationwide, €11.99.

@MaryDowey

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