Buying a bottle of Malbec can be a somewhat mysterious experience, as the grape — much like Chardonnay — can be so many different things. Think of Malbec as the Peter Sellers of grapes: so many disguises and personalities, and you’re never quite sure which one you will get.
Of one thing there is little doubt: Malbec from Argentina is nearly always a good value. (Though we’ll see how long that lasts, as more and more people are discovering the grape, and demand is increasing.) However, it can be soft and easy, lively and vivacious, or bold and dominating. There are simple Malbecs that you may chill for a while and enjoy with chicken salad, and there are complex, full-flavored, tannic Malbecs that you store in the cellar for 10 years or more.
Never having the Gascon Malbec before, I had no idea what to expect. Since it cost only about nine bucks, I figured there was a good chance it would be on the fun and fruity side, soft, and easy drinking. Boy was I wrong, and knew it the minute I stuck my nose in the glass. Green, herbal, earthy aromas dominate the nose, saddled by black fruits, black pepper, and a touch of tar. On the palate, it’s all black, ripe fruit, with black pepper, tar, and hints of tobacco, wrapped with ripe tannins and a good level of acidity. The finish is mostly tar, tobacco, and black pepper, and is longer than expected, carried by the medium-high level of tannins and acidity. Final verdict? This is an excellent value, a bold red wine begging for steak, chops, or cheese. And if you like a wine in this style, it is fairly enjoyable all by itself.
Note: I recorked the half-full bottle and stuck it in the fridge, and two days later it was nearly as enjoyable as when it was freshly opened. To me that makes it all the more valuable.
a-8 t-7 b-8 fc-8 v-10 = 91 Points