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Top Malbec Wines Tasting - 19th March '24

Updated: Apr 8

On the 19th of March, we tasted some of the top Malbec’s available in Gauteng. There are presently 27 available in Makro, Norman Goodfellows, Liquor City and Woolworths. A year ago when we looked at trying to taste six Malbec’s, we couldn’t. Which, shows how popular in a short time they are becoming in Gauteng. In this tasting we wanted to see what makes Malbec such an awesome cultivar on its own. Each taster received a spreadsheet of where these wines can be found, and a set of notes detailing chemical analysis, viticulture, winemaking and the winemakers tasting notes. All the wines were served together and cold. Thanks to Gavin Horscroft for donating the 2017 Paul Wallace “Black Dog”. The following is the tasting order, the taster’s comments and the average scores.

 

1.     Finca Flichman Estate Malbec 2022 (Mendoza, Argentina)

Colour- inky dark red heart, with no gradation to a red rim. Nose- blood orange, chocolate, back berries and cherries, plum and prunes. Palate- crisp acidity, firm tannins, cedar, black fruit including cherry, bitter red cherry, mulberry, hedgerow fruits.

Score- 16.50.

2.    Bellevue Malbec 2022 (Bottelary, Stellenbosch)

Colour- inky dark red heart, with no gradation to a magenta rim. Nose- chemical, tobacco, herbal with cardamom, spearmint, Eucalyptus, sun dried tomatoes, black currants. Palate- crisp acidity, extremely firm almost tart tannins, Eucalyptus, black currant, cedar, herbal.

Score- 15.67.

3.    Diemersdal Malbec 2022 (Durbanville)

Colour- inky purple-red, not gradating to a purple rim. Nose- toffee, black cherry and berries, chocolate, coffee. Palate- crisp acidity, firm tannins, black berries and cherries, toffee, chocolate, cigar cedar box, meaty.

Score- 16.70.

4.    Neethlingshof Malbec 2021 (Stellenbosch Valley)

Colour- inky purple-red, not gradating to a magenta rim. Nose- medicinal, vanilla, elastoplast, stinky, smoky, cassis. Palate- crisp acidity, firm tannins, leathery, meaty, elastoplast, medicinal, tobacco, bacon, cassis.

Score- 14.80 (most didn’t score the wine, as they thought it was faulty).

5.    Anura Reserve Malbec 2021 (Simonsberg, Paarl)

Colour- inky dark red, not gradating to a magenta rim. Nose- violets, spice, Christmas cake, chocolate, plum, black cherry, cassis, toffee, cedar. Palate- crisp acidity, firm tannins, cedar, cassis, black fruits and cherry, toffee, spice, chocolate, nuts.

Score- 17.50 (4th best wine out of 64, tasted in 2024).

6.    Paul Wallace “Black dog” Malbec 2019 (Elgin)

Colour- inky purple-red, not gradating to a magenta rim. Nose- spice, cedar, full forthcoming black cherries and berries, cassis. Palate- crisp acids, firm tannins, full dark berries and cherries, cassis, plum, cedar, spices.

Score- 16.90.

7.     Paul Wallace “Black dog” Malbec 2017 (Elgin)

Colour- inky red gradating slightly to a slight browning rim. Nose- olive tapenade, toffee, cassis, savoury sun dried tomatoes. Palate- crisp acidity, soft tannins, sun dried tomatoes, spices, toffee, coffee, plum, cherry, cassis, black currant.

Score- 16.80.

 

Interesting to see the progression of the Paul Wallace after two years of good cellaring. The 2017 had almost lost all its tannin, was allot more open, 0.1 difference in score. The 2019, was closed young, most felt the wine had a long way to go and needs more time to open up. The Neethlingshof, most felt had maybe been delivered in a hot truck and was damaged! Half of the tasters scored it and I think we shouldn’t have. I have tasted Neethlingshof Malbec’s before and they never tasted like that! As the tasting progressed most people that the nose of the wines evolved majestically and became fruit forward. The magenta rim, was not as pronounced as the literature discusses as a “tell” for Malbec. Top wine the Anura, follow by the 2019 and the 2017 Paul Wallace. Thanks to everyone who attended and made this such a great tasting!

 

 

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