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Drown yourself in Malbec

Malbec roared onto the scene in the not too distant past, thanks, initially, to Argentina, it's rich, easy drinking style and, let's face it, even fairly shitty Malbec is palatable, making the cheap stuff an instant hit in the off trade. Malbec is pretty versatile when it comes to winemaking - good in oak (American and French), works well without oak, adapts to selected sites and can give a great deal to a blend.

The grape variety originates in Cahors, SW France (Where it's known as Cot) and was a far more common component of left bank Bordeaux until phylloxera decimated Europe's vineyards and, due to its late ripening, was not replanted in any great volume. At it's most basic it does what it says on the label (Figuratively speaking, of course - no label dares to speak the truth at this level 'Drink two bottles of this and get battered with something that tastes OK') and, with care and attention can reach wonderful complexity and depth of character. We've included 4 examples of Malbec on our main wine list, which illustrate different styles and price points. Portillo Malbec (23 per bottle), made by Salentein Wines, is a cracking example of a rich, dark youthful wine - made to be enjoyed young (Cue Prince Andrew), full of vibrant dark and red fruit flavours - no oak. Los Intocables (Finca Las Moras) Malbec (29 per bottle) - another Argentinian number - the wine is aged in used Bourbon casks for about 9 months after fermenting in stainless steel tanks. Smoky, spicy and really smooth to drink - our biggest selling wine. A bottle each with a steak or 2 bottles without. Capping off the Argentinian trio is Serbal Atamisque Malbec (£32 per bottle). Hand picked fruit from superb, high altitude sites with long, glorious ripening times, these berries impart a complex and rich varietal flavour into the wine, which is not oaked and present a wonderful expression of what Malbec is all about. Stunning wine.

Now let's go back to where it all came from, Cahors in South West France. The wine industry is united in championing the cause of Cahors Malbec. The region has a broad commitment to quality and are relabelling wines to reflect international demand. Chateau Labrande (29 per bottle) produce a wine that is an ode to more traditional winemaking, a little bit of oak and more refined and restrained fruit flavours - stepping back a little from the explosive fruit bombs of many of their Argentinian counterparts.

Ultimately it's all down to doing a bit of exploring and making the decision yourself as to what you enjoy drinking the most. We're launching a flight of Malbec soon, to help you on your journey and always have more premium Malbecs off list. See you soon for a glass (or bottle, or multiple bottles)

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