2009 Achaval Ferrer Malbec: Delicate, yet substantial

march 20, 2011: don't let yourself fall into that trap, the one that says: all varietals are the same. greg and i did that when we were first starting out on malbec, then cabernet sauvignon and merlot and the rest of what we called the reddish bunch. with a lot of prodding from some wine experts around town, we've unfurled our wings a bit and have begun to peck and poke at the bottles we purchase, asking, before we open them up, what's different about *this* version of, say, malbec, compared to the others in their varietal class. and this achaval ferrer is a prime example. if a 2009 crios malbec is the scruffy guy hanging out in the alleyway, then the 2009 achaval ferrer is his clean-shaven, sweet-smelling cousin ... the one you'd bring home to mom, in other words, when you've finally realized that you really do deserve a little kindness after all.

and this mendoza, argentinian, is the guy you'd want at the table. as with many good catches, this one came with a recommendation, and after searching for it in three wines stores in evansville, it was only when i happened to be at the schnucks on north green river that i suddenly realized it was within my grasp. so, a little bit of anticipation might be coloring my view here; excitement can do that to you. but right out of the bottle, this wine is delicate, tender, soft and smooth. and that's just the texture. the nose is fruity but also clean. think the aroma of unplucked blackberries, the ones you find accidentally, while on a hike. as for the flavor, it's not effusive. it's berryish, but not so much that it's what some might call a fruit bomb. this is just a nice, gentle wine that a lower-priced malbec would be proud to be associated with. 14.5 percent alcohol. could probably be cellared a bit. goes well with grilled steak.

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