Wine review: A sip of Argentina

By Brittany Kress Gibson
From the January 23, 2014 edition

Fruity, but peppery. Smooth, but tart.

This malbec juxtaposes a few flavors alongside each other, and the result is a good one.

The 2012 Maipe malbec ($11 at Wine on High) shows off Argentina's wine expertise — bold, hearty malbecs — from its most prolific region, Mendoza.

This high-altitude area also produces cabernet, tempranillo and chardonnay, but the purple, originally French malbec grape is the clear favorite. (And, as this bottle shows, it can be relatively reasonable — making it a good choice all around.)

If you like smooth, tannic wines, this is your bottle. There's an underlying black cherry flavor and a nice, full mouthfeel. The tannins definitely mellow over time. (Don’t remember what tannins are? The next time you take a sip of wine and feel your tongue get that “dry” feeling, take note.)

For this column, of course, we like to stick to a pretty easy price point, and within the $10-$15 range, the Maipe is a good example. Compared side-by-side with a much more expensive Mendoza malbec, the Maipe seemed even more fruity — and not as sharply tannic and dry. The two would definitely appeal to different wine drinkers. Consider this one an entry-level bottle, perhaps.

Food counterparts can be mellow, too. This wine works well on its own and would complement paprika-rubbed chicken and potatoes, a bacon-wrapped tenderloin or, really, anything else that suits you on these slightly shivery nights.

Photo by Tim Johnson