Maybe, like me, you’ve found yourself in a love-hate relationship with Argentina’s star red grape variety, Malbec – charmed initially by its bright fruitiness but soon finding it too lavish, too tiresomely attention-seeking? If so, please read on. This truly outstanding version breaks that mould to pieces. I promise you’ll be happy in its company all evening long and find the final sip as appealing as the first.
Like the most sought-after homes, the success of this wine is down to location, location, location. Zorzal, a boutique venture launched in 2008, grows its succulent Malbec at Gualtallary in Tupungato, the northernmost part of Argentina’s Uco Valley, at altitudes of between 1200 and 1600 metres. So cool is it up there that grapes ripen slowly, generating wines with genuine freshness rather than stewed or sickly, overripe fruit flavours. Chalky soils play their part too, delivering a tangy edge of minerality.
Zorzal Terroir Único Malbec, Tupungato 2017
As you might expect of a recently founded, quality-focused outfit, the Zorzal approach is bang up-to-the-minute, vinifying three batches of grapes at different stages of ripeness separately (with indigenous yeasts, of course) in concrete eggs and clay amphorae – all the latest gear.
To me this is new-wave Malbec at its finest – elegant, invigorating, palate-cleansing and, above all, enduringly yummy. Enjoy it some weekend soon with lamb (roast, grilled or in a tajine), duck, pork, beef (including chilli con carne) or maybe a hearty vegetarian dish based on aubergines. Come to think of it, cauliflower cheese would taste terrific with it too.
From Clontarf Wines, Dublin 3; Ely 64, Glasthule; La Touche Wines 4u, Greystones; McCambridges, Galway; Thomas Woodberry, Galway, about €18.
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