This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Red Single-Varietal under £15 went to Fabre Montmayou, HJ. Fabre Barrel Selection Malbec, Patagonia, Argentina 2013 (14.5%)

Tasted against:

  • Durbanville Hills, Rhinofields Pinotage, Durbanville, Tygerberg, South Africa 2012
  • Miguel Torres, País, Reserva de Pueblo, Chile, 2012
  • Pelvillian Frères, Château du Port Cuvée Prestige, Cahors, France 2012
  • Zuccardi, Serie A Bonarda, Santa Rosa, Mendoza, Argentina 2013


The 2014 DWWA will go down as a memorable one for Fabre Montmayou – as well as winning this International Trophy, it is also taking home a Regional Trophy for a Cabernet Franc. Chile and Argentina have fought fiercely in this category over the past few years, and after a win for a Chilean Malbec last year, the title heads back over the Andes – and south. This is another Malbec of pep and vigour that delivers wonderful richness of fruit for the price.

The Rio Negro Valley in Patagonia, at 39º latitude, is the most southerly vine-growing region in South America. The flavour profile here is different from Mendoza: more European in feel, with an accent on elegant red fruits and finesse, due to the extremities of temperature in the vineyards. Sunny days and extremely cool nights contribute towards undoubted restraint and poise, and a less overtly full-throttle Malbec – perhaps more in keeping with Hervé Joyaux Fabre’s Bordeaux origins.

Run like a top Médoc château, winemaking here begins with the harvesting of old-vine fruit into small 20kg trays to keep bunches pristine, with the clusters carefully hand sorted prior to destemming. The individual berries are then put across a second sorting table prior to fermentation to make absolutely sure of the quality of fruit. Fermentation is temperature controlled, with four pump-overs a day, followed by extended maceration on the grape skins adding to greater extraction and quality of tannins. It spends 12 months in new French oak before release; 55,000 bottles were made.

This Trophy-winner ably demonstrates the heights to which Malbec can reach at this southerly latitude. It is an eloquent tribute to Fabre’s faith in the region, and furthers his belief that other Patagonian producers should be championing this grape too.

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Written by Decanter