LCBO Sale Pick of the Week: Nov. 12

Trapiche Broquel 2013 Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)

Sale $12.95, Regular $14.95
Discount (until Nov. 29): $2.00
LCBO # 234385 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Sweet and sour plum, blackberry jam, cinnamon and charcuterie.
Pairs with: Meaty pizza, cured meats, veal sandwich, ravioli, lamb.
Good for: Skipping class and hanging out all afternoon.
Alcohol: 14.5%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
Well, there’s no accounting for taste. What I mean is, Malbec is a funny thing. Once upon a time, it was a mere adjunct to France’s Bordeax blends, though it did much better in the hotter southerly climes of Cahors. In the 1950s, frost in Bordeaux killed most of it off, and it was never replanted. Merlot took its place in the blending, offering similar richness but not quite the same gritty heft. Recently, the grape has become a star in Argentina and Chile. It shines at high altitudes where both ripeness and acidity reach a very agreeable balance. Mendoza, the region from which this Trapiche Broquel hails, is the spot where, in the shadow of the Andes, the wine magic happens.

Tasting note
As the Malbec vogue grew over the past 10 years or so, many poorly made commercial Malbecs hit the market in the under $15 range, and they were little more than hot and bloody messes. But that’s not the grape’s fault. At it’s best, Malbec is a big, warm hug of a wine. And this here Trapiche is all that and more. It’s got that sweet and spicy Malbec fruit, which wine geeks peg as damson. I’ve never tasted it, but apparently it’s a kind of sour plum, though it is a member of the rose family. In this wine, I’m guessing that quality comes through as plum-meets-wild-strawberry, with some blueberry, cinnamon, mint and a whiff of charcuterie (yes, dried meat). It’s oaky too. And it’s bloody good. I like the texture, rich but astringent (we call that “rustic”). The tannins are a little rough, but they balance out the high alcohol and ripe fruit. This is a fun wine, with lots of flavour and personality. Good for daily consumption with pizza, veal sandwiches, meat ravioli, veal shank, lamb. It’s a good quaffer, too, in this chilling weather.

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This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder