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Argentinian Malbec blends: panel tasting results

See the top 32 Argentinian Malbec blends judged by Decanter's panel of experts, including tasting notes and drinking windows.

With 79% of wines recommended, this very good tasting showcased the extra dimension that supporting grapes can lend to Malbec, and the progress these blends have made.

‘A great tasting,’ opened Phil Crozier. ‘Encouraging and very good for Malbec blends. We’re seeing a really high consistency of quality.’ Patricio Tapia was equally pleased, likening Malbec to ‘the joker who can make a party out of nothing’. Dirceau Vianna Jr MW echoed the sentiment: ‘Malbec is exuberant, reliable and fruitforward – and adding a blending partner gives it another dimension.’

Each judge applauded Malbec’s versatility, though Crozier felt it was best for blending when it was the dominant grape: ‘If it plays second fiddle, it loses its effectiveness.’ He thought Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot were Malbec’s ideal blending partners, while Vianna Jr preferred Touriga Nacional. ‘It’s predictable to use the Bordeaux varieties. Yes, Touriga Nacional is a difficult grape because its yields are low, but as a blending component it’s amazing.’

As a group of wines, Malbec blends are a reliable buy, where consumers can be confident of a good wine.

So which vintages are worth seeking out? ‘2010 was a great vintage,’ said Crozier. ‘Wines from 2011 and 2012 were difficult. 2013 was amazing but 2014 and 2008 were very problematic. The wines from 2007 now are fantastic, but you won’t find much left now.’

For drinkability, Vianna Jr advised readers to ‘open the vast majority’ of these wines now. ‘Argentina is about exuberance of fruit and these blends have so much of that.’ Crozier urged consumers ‘not to buy cheap’, with Tapia claiming that value in terms of Malbec blends meant between £15 and £25.


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