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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > NEW WORLD: Malbec

Winner Details

New World: Malbec

2019 Gold 9      Silver 7        Bronze 8        Commended 17
2018 Gold 7      Silver 13      Bronze 12      Commended 11

Malbec, our tasters agreed, is Popular With Customers. We know. Shocking isn’t it? In other news, bears admit to ‘going in the woods’ and Pope ‘revealed as Catholic’…

But interestingly, what those customers think of as ‘typically Malbec’ isn’t necessarily what they’re going to get. At the entry level, yes – it’s all about violets, juicy hedgerow fruit and a kick of spicy oak. But move upmarket and increasingly these are serious wines of power and structure; wines that are competing with heavyweights from the Northern Rhône or the Barossa, rather than easy drinkers.

So, not quite so straightforward any more, Mr Bond… The good news, however, was that our teams could definitely detect improvements in quality as the prices went up – this isn’t simply cynical pricing for the sake of it. And in any case the most common negative factors here – high alcohol and over-jammy fruit – were just as likely at £8 as they were at £20.

When the winemakers got it right, in other words, they really got it right, which is how we ended up with a record number of Golds. Nine is a stunning performance, second only to Aussie Shiraz in the New World section.

We just need more wineries to follow the example of Trapiche, whose Finca Ambrosia picked up a Gold for the second year on the trot.

Oh, and who’d have thought that New Zealand would get more Golds for Malbec (one) than it did for Bordeaux Blends or Syrah…?

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Malbec has to be on a wine list, and we found wines that would fit everywhere from gastropubs to fine wine. A few years ago these didn’t have such big tannic structure. They’re serious wines, but well made.’ Raphael Thierry, Street XO

‘There were a few gems here, between £7.50 and £16, but there’s also a lot of extraction and New World approach, trying to deliver sweetness for the American market.’ Christopher Delalonde MS, The Dorchester

‘There are two markets here, starting with the entry level with jammy fruit and soft tannin, and then those for people looking for structure and elegance, for heavier food. We found both here.’ Marco Marcuzzo, Aster Restaurant

‘These were well produced, and not as jammy as they have been in the past – refined and elegant, with lower alcohol levels. They’re practical wines, and you can find some good examples at the premium end too.’ Sylwester Piasecki, Zuma

‘We had a bad batch, with unbalanced wines, high alcohol and overly confected fruits.’ Andres Ituarte, team leader

‘Argentinian Malbec is the standard, the Chilean ones lacked body and were more juicy – they need to improve.’ Chiara Sieni, Bottles Group

‘It’s a go-to wine, so stick with Argentina. Guests know it and feel comfortable with that.’ Sonal Clare, Purnell’s Restaurant

Award winners

Found 41 wines

New World: Malbec

Bemberg, La Linterna, La Consulta, Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

Awarding a deserved Gold medal, team leader Martin Lam observed a sense of restraint in the winemaking: ‘This has a dark and savoury nose but it’s not oaky,’ he said, adding: ‘It’s fresh, concentrated and nicely balanced, and a clear winner in this macho style – heavy bottle, too!’ Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn added: ‘There’s good typicity here, too,’ pointing to ‘the really complex’ herbal elements of ‘eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme and pepper…’. ‘Ripe fruit, ripe tannins and complex’ was Cavalry & Guards Club’s Andre Luis Martins summation.

£49.39 Top Selection

Salentein, Primus, Malbec 2015, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

‘What an intense nose,’ said The Gilbert Scott’s Juan Manuel Marcos Perez of this rather fine Gold Lister, adding: ‘It’s extremely aromatic… with raspberries, strawberries, fresh cherry and vanilla; there’s also violet and spice all integrated in the oak.’ Charlie Carter of Ten Green Bottles agreed, noting ‘creamy cassis and bramble fruit, all layered in with sweet tobacco, cedar and game’, before adding that there was a ‘lovely integration of flavours and tannin on the palate; it’s concentrated yet elegant’. Meanwhile team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW praised the ‘generous, plump and fleshy fruit’ and fellow team leader Martin Lam admired ‘the silky tannins’.

£31.72 Matthew Clark

Catena, Appellation, La Consulta, Malbec 2016, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

As this beauty was granted a place on the Gold List, Charlie Carter of Ten Green Bottles described a wine of ‘great complexity: the bramble fruit flavours are rich and well integrated, and there’s a hint of cedar and sweet tobacco; the acidity is fresh and zippy, washing back the tannins nicely’. For team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, elegance was key. She described its ‘delicate, berry fruit profile’ and thought it had ‘a sweetness but it’s done with finesse’. Still a hearty wine, however, Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth, Simpsons & Edgbaston matched it with ‘braised ox cheeks and sirloin with a prune sauce’.

£12.49 Bibendum

Amalaya, Gran Corte, Malbec 2017, Calchaquí Valley, Salta, Argentina

Gold medal winner

Approaching the Gold medal table, team leader Angela Reddin said: ‘This wine is so lovely and inviting.’ She went on to describe ‘a burst of mulberry and plum fruits with smooth chocolate, diving into the mouth’ and concluded by describing a ‘firm, elegant all rounder’. For fellow team leader Laurent Richet MS it was ‘pure juice – intense and concentrated’. Its ‘power and balance’ had him calling for ‘cote du boeuf with Béarnaise sauce and fries’. ‘Lime-marinated pulled lamb with sweet potato and red onion’ was the choice of Aviary’s Aurore Anguenot, while ‘game with a chocolate reduction’ was the suggestion of Mattia Mazzi of The River Cafe. Clearly a wine with many gastronomic possibilities…

£11.87 Liberty Wines

Finca Las Moras, Alma Mora, Selected Reserve, Malbec 2017, San Juan, Argentina

Gold medal winner By the glass

Recommending this Gold medal winner as a great choice by the glass or down the pub, team leader Laurent Richet MS praised ‘the lovely fruit concentration of pear and bruised fruits wrapped in chocolate’ and also its ‘evolution, with a little soy sauce adding a savoury note’. ‘Pork chop with onion gravy’ was his pairing suggestion, while fellow team leader Angela Reddin suggested that its ‘herbal-tinged, sweet, ripe black fruits’ called for ‘a plate of smoked meats’.

£7.50 Matthew Clark

Coopers Creek, Gisborne, Malbec 2016, Gisborne, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

With its ‘lovely ripe fruit, balance and length’, team leader Laurent Richet MS was happy to award this a Gold, adding that it was ‘juicy, fleshy and meaty, with coffee aromatics’, and suggesting it would work well with ‘venison or leg of lamb’. Francesca Turra of Mondrian London suggested it would certainly work with ‘fatty dishes’ and Mattia Mazzi of The River Cafe thought that this Malbec was more ‘in a Cahors style, as it’s drier and fresher’.

£9.97 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Trapiche, Terroir Series, Finca Ambrosia, Malbec 2015, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest was happy to articulate the many reasons for this wine’s Gold medal listing, saying: ‘There are high notes of cinnamon spice and vanilla; then raspberry and cranberry with a smoky char. The palate is plump, with soft creamy vanilla and ripe blackberry and dark cherry, while the finish is marked with a dash of dark pepper.’ While nearly all the judges noted the continued fashion for the weighty receptacle in this category, Tanguy Martin of New Street Warehouse was pleased to find ‘real elegance’ coming out of ‘such a heavy bottle’, a point on which team leader Martin Lam agreed. Commending the ‘ripe, spicy fruit and juicy balanced tannins’, he added: ‘For a big wine this certainly has a good, attractive character.’

£22.52 Enotria&Coe

Salentein, Barrel Selection, Malbec 2017, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine was impressed with the elegance of this Gold Lister, noting ‘ripe autumnal pears with figs and vanilla’ on the nose and a palate of ‘delicate freshness’ that belied its ‘good, punchy, sour cherry finish’. Perhaps this was why he suggested ‘roast duck’ as a food match. While team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW enjoyed the ‘super-ripe, pure raspberry fruit with dark cocoa back notes’, fellow team leader Martin Lam found ‘a raisin and red fruit nose’ and a ripe palate that was ‘juicy and fresh; spicy and attractive’.

£13.53 Matthew Clark

Pannunzio, Las Piedras, Malbec 2017, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

‘Wow’ was the immediate response of team leader Laurent Richet MS to this clear Gold Lister, adding: ‘This wine has lovely fruit, structure, balance and length.’ He thought it would be ‘a great wine by the glass or equally with food’, and that ‘you could easily keep it for one or two years’. Fellow team leader Jade Koch was also a fan, admiring its aromatic notes of ‘tea, smoke and violets’, while Zuma’s Sylwester Piasecki picked out ‘spices like clove and ginger’ that lead to a ‘clean and elegant finish’.

£9.72 Top Selection

Caliterra, Tributo, Single Vineyard, Pétreo, Malbec 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Gabriele Bertotti of Maze by Gordon Ramsay described this wine as having ‘a very interesting palate’, and found it ‘balanced, with delicate notes of black fruits, although both juicy and grippy’.

£10.39 Hatch Mansfield

Humberto Canale, Family Selection, Malbec 2016, Patagonia, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘A lovely savoury palate,’ noted Gabriele Bertotti of Maze by Gordon Ramsay as he described this Silver medal-winning wine as ‘juicy, round and well balanced’ and ‘very much ready to go’.

£15.22 Enotria&Coe

Trapiche, Perfiles, Calcareo, Malbec 2015, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘Ripe red fruit and plum notes are lifted by sweet spices, cinnamon, clove and touch of minty eucalyptus,’ said Hakkasan Hanway Place’s Oliver Nagy, adding: ‘The medium-bodied palate is soft with black cherry and a nice blackcurrant finish.’

£12.97 Enotria&Coe

Mendel Wines, Mendel, Malbec 2016, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine loved the ‘stewed fruit and rhubarb notes’ of this wine, and described its ‘hints of spice, plum pudding and sour cherries’ as ‘gentle yet with good balance’.

£15.35 House of Townend

Doña Paula, Selección de Bodega, Malbec 2015, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

Captivated by its ‘extremely aromatic, intense nose’, The Gilbert Scott’s Juan Manuel Marcos Perez found this wine to be ‘full of raspberries and strawberries, with fresh cherries, violets and vanilla spice’. He summed it up as a ‘lovely, youthful and lively wine’.

£32.65 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Familia Schroeder, Saurus, Barrel Fermented, Malbec 2016, Patagonia, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘Perfumed and intense’ were the initial feelings of team leader Laurent Richet MS as he tasted this Silver medal-winning wine, and he continued by saying that this wine’s ‘fruits are well managed with a balance of ripe plums and prunes’.

£16.25 Ellis of Richmond

Finca Las Moras, Paz, Malbec 2016, San Juan, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘Black and red fruit on the nose, and a bit floral too, leading to a spicy palate,’ said team leader Carlos Ferreira, while fellow team leader Tom Forrest appreciated ‘black fruit and blueberries, with more soft, ripe black fruits and some pepper and liquorice on the palate’.

£9.50 Matthew Clark

Bressia, Pablo y Walter, Malbec 2018, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

This was described by team leader Jade Koch as having ‘smoky warm plums, with good freshness, and notes of violets, chocolate and warm spices’.

£7.50 Boutinot

Boutinot, Turno de Noche, Malbec 2018, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

Carolina W Seibel of Moio Restaurant found ‘dark, dusty, green notes, but ripe berry flavours, dark cherries and well-integrated oak’.

£7.35 Boutinot

Boutinot, Showdown, The Bird, Malbec 2017, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

Gabriele Bertotti of Maze by Gordon Ramsay enjoyed this entry-level Malbec, noting: ‘Good yet delicate black fruit nose; yet round, fresh and long-lasting on the palate.’

£6.85 Boutinot

Andeluna, Pasionado, Malbec 2015, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

This was a hit with Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine, who found ‘good fruits, with plums and spiced lemon/lime zesty flavours’. ‘It has a nice touch of vanilla,’ he added, ‘and a generous sour cherry finish’.

£29.57 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Trapiche, Estación 1883, Malbec 2017, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

Juan Manuel Marcos Perez of The Gilbert Scott noted this wine’s ‘dark purple/ruby colour with a pronounced oaky flavour on the nose’ and further described ‘black fruits with balanced vanilla and a good oak integration’.

£9.27 Enotria&Coe

Mendel Wines, Lunta, Malbec 2016, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

‘Plums with a hint of baked tart, yet with some lovely flavours of spice and a decent length,’ said Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine.

£9.98 House of Townend

Matias Riccitelli, Vineyard Selection, Malbec 2016, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

Gabriele Bertotti of Maze by Gordon Ramsay thought this wine had ‘extra juicy opulence’, and continued by saying that the palate showed ‘black fruit, a delicate clean flavour profile and touch of eucalyptus’.

£23.44 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Finca Las Moras, Los Intocables, Malbec 2018, San Juan, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest noted ‘warm vanilla and dusty cedar notes on the nose, with a touch of medicinal clove’, adding: ‘There’s certainly ripe blackberry with perhaps a touch of reduction and a spiced, cranberry finish.’

£9.50 Matthew Clark

Aires Andinos, Malbec 2018, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

Belhara Estate, Estrella del Sur, Malbec 2017, Uco Valley, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£8.90 D&V Wines

Caliterra, Reserva, Malbec 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

Belhara Estate, Sierra de los Sueños, Malbec 2017, Uco Valley, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£7.90 D&V Wines

Nieto Senetiner, Malbec 2015, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£8.15 Boutinot

Nieto Senetiner, Malbec 2017, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£7.65 Boutinot

Benegas, Quid Pro Quo, Malbec 2018, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

Salentein, Capilla de Barro, Malbec 2018, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

Grupo Peñaflor, Member's Mark, Malbec 2017, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£15.52 Grupo Peñaflor

Trapiche, Perfiles, Textura Fina, Malbec 2016, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£12.97 Enotria&Coe

Piattelli Vineyards, Grand, Malbec 2016, Salta, Argentina

Commended medal winner

Familia Schroeder, Saurus, Select Malbec 2017, Patagonia, Argentina

Commended medal winner

Norton, Privada, Malbec 2015, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

Finca Decero, Remolinos Vineyard, Malbec 2017, Agrelo, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

Left Field, Malbec 2017, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

El Esteco, Fincas Notables, Malbec 2016, Salta, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£15.44 Enotria&Coe

El Porvenir de Cafayate, Amauta Absoluto, Malbec 2018, Cafayate Valley, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£7.65 Boutinot

 

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