A Red That’s Sure to Impress

A Red That’s Sure to Impress

Smoky, haunting Malbec from Argentina

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Thank goodness (and Argentina) for the frequently delicious reds made from the Malbec grape. Malbec still makes superb wines in the French region of Cahors, due southeast from Bordeaux on the Lot River. But for quality at relatively low prices, Argentina rules. Today’s example, a bit pricier than “everyday,” makes the under $20 category a superlative buy. It’s Bodega Ruca Malen from the Mendoza region, and it’s their “Reserva” bottling. With grapes grown at over 3,000 feet in altitude, they show remarkable depth yet early suppleness. I believe you’d be impressed.

2014 Ruca Malen Malbec Reserva $19 srp

Deep garnet to ruby in color. Hauntingly deep nose of smoky, leather-laced fruit. Elements of woodsy blackberry, black currant, cedar and pepper join in the complex bouquet. Flavors are medium-bodied, balanced and fresh. Freshly turned earth and mountain spices accompany the ripe fruit on the still slightly gritty finish. (A characteristic of a fine young wine.) Lamb, shish kebab and mushroom-based foods will meld well with this. Drink now-2022. Excellent value.

91/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.