Last Sunday’s Drinkypoos session on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch with Tim Lovejoy, Simon Rimmer and me was all about Malbec: the polo player of wine grapes! Here’s what we talked about and what we drank…
What is Malbec? Malbec is the name of a wine grape, originally from South West France but flourishing in Argentina where it is now their flagship grape.
What’s the Vinalogy for Malbec? A Vinalogy (wine-based analogy) is a memorable image that ties in all the classic characteristics of a wine grape to make it easier to remember and Malbec is the Polo Player: Smooth and athletic rather than rugby player chunky. Think of them with lustrous, chocolate brown hair and raspberry pink team shirts as the lomo steaks sizzle on the BBQ, because that’s Malbec: rich and chocolatey with raspberry flavours and notes of grilled meat.
What are we tasting? Three styles of Malbec from the three regions most famous for it: Cahors in South West France, Mendoza in Argentina and France’s Loire Valley.
Wine 1: ‘Chatons du Cedre’ Cahors, Malbec 2012. Oddbins £9.50 (12.5% abv)
Though most people probably think of Argentina for Malbec these days, the grape originated in this part of the world. The region of Cahors in South West France is famous for Malbec-based wines in a particular style i.e. inky black, super dry and almost dusty, with dark, mulberry spice. Remember that in France, wines are often named after region rather than grape. Think Cahors, think Malbec; though it’s often also called Auxerrois (amongst other things). It’s a great example of ‘old world’, Malbec. Eat with Cassoulet and stews. Vinalogy: retired polo player – more savoury and dusty! Stockist: Oddbins
You can’t do Malbec without going to Argentina, and this one is everything you’d want from your Polo Player: Rich and chocalately, but with lots of blueberry and raspberry fruit. Slightly meaty but there’s freshness too. Brilliant value. This one also show’s one of Malbec’s signature traits really well: pink tears dripping down the glass. You can guess what it is by looking at it! It’s been oaked for 12 months in French oak which gives it that spicy, structure (dryness). It’s a proper wine but not too serious. Vinalogy: Classic polo player with all the above notes thrown in! Stockist: The Wine Society
The Loire Valley is a lesser known region for Malbec, but one that wine lovers should know about nonetheless. The style is always much lighter in body and alcohol thanks to the cooler climate of the Loire and it offers something a bit different. Normally I’d show a Loire red first as it’s lighter, but this has taken ‘different’ and run with it. It’s a bit of a legend in the wine trade. Vinalogy: like an elegant polo playing lady who’s been taken for a wild night out in Essex, she’s spoliing for a fight, her hair is everywhere and she’s been rolling in horse poo, but she’s still really rather moreish. One to drink with funky game dishes. Note: It’s funky because it is a ‘natural wine': nothing has been added and nothing removed including Sulphur which normally acts as an antioxidant and antiseptic. Stockist: Winebear.com
Want a little more information on the polo player of wine grapes? Here’s my video!